None of us are immune to the social pressures which create negative body image. These feelings of negativity don’t play favorites, they will follow anyone who allows them to be their constant companion.
On Feb. 23-24 Student Health Services put together a Body Image Fair in the hall of flags to help students create and maintain a positive self image.
The fair offered many handouts to students passing by that gave tips to help improve self-perception. They also offered a few self assessments, for those who were not sure where they landed on the body image scale.
“Every body is different, and we should respect people based on the qualities of their character and accomplishments, rather than just because of their appearance,” said the National Eating Disorders Association as cited at the fair.
In our society today it seems that the media is driven to push the public over the edge. Many advertising campaigns make us feel inadequate if we don’t look like the freakishly thin model in advertisements.
The fashion industry also creates the idea that nothing less than perfection will do. And of course there is the objectification of women and men in many pornographic magazines and online Web sites. The production and viewing of pornography not only damages the viewer, but it degrades women and creates unrealistic expectations.
However, there has been a slow trend for some in the beauty industry to combat the negativity placed on body image.
Dove is pushing their “Campaign for Real Beauty” to promote the idea of realistic beauty expectations. Dove no longer uses professional models, rather they use real women, and have been for the past six years.
“Be You (tiful) beauty. True You,” said a poster on display at the fair, emphasizing that sometimes it is our imperfections that make us more beautiful, our unique features make us who we are.
While there is an incredible amount of pressure pounding on us daily to conform to those featured on the front page of magazines or walking down the runway, we have the power within us to combat the negative thoughts about ourselves that may bombard us.
The fair offered several suggestions, here are a few:
Stop talking about your weight: This will not only help you, but the future generation.
Give up dieting: Diets just don’t work, they often create more problems.
Listen to your body: “Eat when you are truly hungry. Stop when you are full,” NEDA said.
Focus on the good: We all have features and qualities that we do like about ourselves, focus on those.
It’s not real: Remember not every picture you see in a magazine is real, the majority of them are altered.
Be yourself: Create your own style and don’t be afraid to share it!
No one can pull you off, better than you! So embrace you, everything about you, your hips, your butt, your tummy, all of it, love it! Because you are beautiful, just as you are! Yeah, I’m talking to you!