Media and Body Image

How we view ourselves is important for our emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing. Our conception of our self is based on various factors, including our environment, our family, and of course, the media. Whether it be mainstream media or social media, physical appearance holds immense importance therein.

We see only a certain type of protagonists; thin, tall, tan women and tall, dark handsome some. There is no variance from the standard of beauty that has been set.

Similarly, social media, especially sites like Instagram are all about appearance. You want to appear beautiful to other people. And when you see gorgeous, thin influencers, alongside celebrities, your perception of self also then starts to vane.

This can then breed lack of confidence in one’s own body. Women are especially vulnerable to these body image issues. They might exercise, do fad and dangerous diets just to stay thin. Visits to cosmetologists are scheduled to look a certain way. And yet, the underlying mental health problems that need urgent addressing by a psychologist persist.

Different way media harbors negative self-image

Even though the connection between social and mainstream media and body-image is pending more research, preliminary findings have shown these to influence how we perceive ourselves. Here are some ways body image issues result from media:

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Exposure to the stereotypical image

The media outlets might not outrightly say so, but the fact that they promote a certain type of thin figure and typical facial attributes is an underhanded way of saying only people looking so are beautiful. This then makes people feel inadequate about their body.

The series that may show a different protagonist, for example, a plus-sized lead, then highlight this fact so much, that you see their figure it to be an anomaly, rather than the norm.

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Feeling ugly

Have you looked at the gorgeous ladies in the magazine or your feed, the ones with perfect pout, thin yet voluptuous figure and the perfect complexion, and started to feel ugly as a result?

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Well, then you are not the only one. Many people start to feel ugly after looking at the images relayed to them through various medial portals. Unfortunately, what people might not realize is that these images are edited and enhanced. Moreover, many models get so many cosmetic procedures to look a certain way, hence their appearance is not natural.

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Objectification of women

Let’s call the fixation on female figure for what it truly is: objectification. When all you can see is the appearance, when all they are lauded for is their beauty, when all they bring to the table is their looks, then you are inadvertently making them out to be objects, a form of eye-candy and nothing more.

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We are all guilty of using filters, but have you thought about why you should be using filters that make you look fairer, or perhaps make your eyes look bigger, lighting more flattering? What’s is wrong with the way you already look?

See, there lies the problem. Our hang-ups about our looks are so deep-rooted, that before using filters, we do not even falter.

Selfie, something which is associated with filter, is seen to be the most problematic form of image taking. Most people who take selfies take multiple photos and edit them, to find the one that makes them look even more pretty, pointing out to our complexes about our looks.

The constant comparison

It is not only when you see celebrities and influencers, but you might also compare yourself to your friends and colleagues. According to one research, this comparison always then leaves one feeling worse about themselves. Even with seemingly healthy topics like Fitspo, one is made to feel worse about their body.

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Hence, these are not just innocuous images, but something that is aggravating your self-esteem issues and disturbing your mental health, meriting treatment from the Psychologist in Islamabad.