Many girls and woman have a negative body image. The female body image and how people should look like is told by marketing and advertising companies. It’s noticeable that the body size of women as shown in the media has been steadily getting smaller. But we have to understand that beauty sells, and this is somewhat of a problem when the media produce unattainable images for women and that marketers will always do anything that the can sell their products and make a profit.
Causes of Negative Body Image of Women
There are many factors that may contribute to a poor female body image. We live in a culture where thinness and beauty are highly valued for women and wealth and success are often considered to go hand in hand with a slim figure.
Media images of thin and photoshopped women are everywhere – television shows, movies, popular magazines. The media often glamorizes a very thin body for women. These are also the pictures that are being shown to teenagers in a time of their lives that they are particularly susceptible to peer pressure and looking good.
Due to this influence, poor body image can begin to develop at a very young age. More than 80 percent of girls and woman say that they have dieted in and attempt to lose weight. The efects of the poor body image are more than visable. The weight loss industry is very profitable. They know exactly how to sell products to people with the promise that their lives will be better if they lose weight or buy a special low fat or fat free products. Clothing firms use size zero models in their advertisements that are often photoshopped to alien-like dimensions that would be unachievable and unhealthy in any human being.
For prople who are genetically predisposed to an eating disorder, dieting caused by a negative body image could trigger one. However for the majority of the population, what happens is a preoccupation with diet, low self-esteem, low self-confidence and never feeling that one’s body is adequate. In addition to leading to the development of eating disorders, a poor body image can contribute to depression, anxiety, problems in relationships, the development of various health problems.
Poor self-esteem often contributes to problems in relationships, the workplace, and any area in life that requires confidence. Ultimately a negative body image can lead to unhappiness and depression both of which are also symptoms of low self-confidence. The saddest thing of all is that all of these negative feelings might be being brought about just so some company somewhere can sell more products.
But what can we do? Changing the way the media portrays women seems to be impossible as long as this people are earning a lot of money with this products. Can we force companies to use only real modesl in their catalogs? Maybe not.
On the individual level, there are some simple things you can do to improve self confidence:
Focus on your accomplishments and good qualities,
Repeating affirmations and working with self-esteem workbooks
For those with serious anxiety, depression or eating disorders related to poor body image, however, psychotherapy or other mental health treatment is recommended. There is no reason that you should feel embarrassed about low self-esteem as we have all had it at some point. If it is affecting your ability to be happy you should certainly ask for help.