Posted by Mohannad Aljawamis
We aspire for perfection in our bodies and our physical appearances. We size up our bellies, our muscles, our height, our hair, and our general appearance. Our mindset creates a need for comparison between what we think is "better," and our own poor bodies that are never shaped the way we want them to be.
Negative body image may not be the most controversial health issue among college students, yet this results from its obscurity, a taboo concept that many people refuse to talk about. We unknowingly experience body image as a problem because our surroundings, including the media, have normalized the body experiment, in which starving women and steroid men are yearning for perfection. Hence, it becomes normal to set unrealistic goals for our bodies and to start experimenting.
The Media Effect
Visual material has a tremendous influence on human beings. Pictures of plank-thin models and flawless men are presented consistently through every media channel. The media creates an unrealistic image of the healthy body. This image then becomes "normalized" and any alternative image is viewed as inferior.
Think of TV ads that use top models to promote their products while stressing health and beauty as their underlying message. Not only does media create unrealistic standards for viewers, but it also mistakenly redefines health and beauty through specifically sculptured portrayals.
Beauty is a highly subjective concept. People have different predilections. We do not need to have identical appearances to fit the media's standards. Media is mostly used for commercial purposes and could not care less about personal image. Additionally, the term "healthy" is not defined by a certain height or weight. A healthy body is one that is nourished by a balanced diet, physically active, has a generally strong immune system and is fully functional. Therefore, media may not monopolize healthiness through specific appearances.
Media may not always serve as the main source of negative body images. Peers, culture, and mentality play significant roles in how we feel about our bodies. Self-esteem is an individual's evaluation of their worth. Positive self-esteem means that you believe you are capable and worthy of happiness. Take a moment to think about your positive traits, and think of a good body as being a healthy body not the perfect media display.
Having a positive body image means that you perceive and accept your body parts as they truly are. You appreciate your natural, unique body shape and physical appearance. Set for yourself some realistic goals in areas that you would like to improve. Maybe you would like to include more vitamins in your diet that improve your skin. Or maybe you would like to adjust your exercise schedule to gain muscle. Setting new goals is completely fine, but in order to have a positive body image you should be proud of your individuality and uniqueness.