We live in a world with people of different shapes and sizes as well as society telling us to look a certain way. When we feel pressures from family, friends, and the media, we feel the need to change our bodies so that we do not face bullying or being different for looking the way we do. This causes us to take drastic measures to change our bodies the way we think society wants us to look which can cause body dysmorphia or eating disorders if we are not careful.
There are a number of reasons as to why we feel the need to change the way we look and they are all around us. According to a study in Peer, Parent, and Media Influences (p.54-60), in youth from ages 9-14, the media plays a strong role as an influence to change your body. Your favorite model or actress can be skinny with no flab, acne, or blemishes to show. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders says 69% of female youth from grades 5th-12th grade feel images in magazines can affect their perception of what they wished their bodies looked like. According to a study done in Teens, Social Media, and Body Image, 47% of them want to lose weight because of those images. Boys want to have a muscular, toned look and girls want low body weight. Magazines that encourage a healthy lifestyle like yoga or natural living use models that have a ‘perfect’ physique and are unnaturally thin. In other careers such as law, medical, and the military, use models for their ads who all look flawless and skinny.
The best ways to help accept yourself for who you are is to change the way you look at these influencers. When you are at the grocery store and you see all of these magazines of “beautiful people,” you can either choose to ignore them or go to a checkout lane with no magazines. Remember that not everything you see in the magazines are even real. Many magazine publishing companies use Photoshop to retouch photos to make these women look skinnier with shiny skin.
It also helps to make a list of all of the great things about yourself that make you beautiful as we all have a list of qualities that make us stand out from the rest. It is also important to tell yourself that we were all created differently and that looking like a model is not what the general population looks like.
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