Body image is how we think and feel about ourselves physically. Our bodies are one of the things that we have that is a constant in our lives. However, for many it’s one of things that we are very critical of. This is due to external factors affecting our thoughts about our bodies. 

Lili Reinhart’s Revealing Speech About Body Image

What are these external factors? 

🎧 Social Media is a huge factor in people’s opinions of their bodies. This is due to filters, only posting the positives, and having high expectations being shared through social media. Social media has amplified the already high standards of beauty even further.   

🎨 Magazines are one of the first types of media that people saw biassed representation of beauty. Back in the day, when people didn’t have access to the internet, people mainly saw skinny women, mascline men, women made up with makeup, men shirtless etc within these magazines. Even today, magazines still have a big impact on people’s body image. It’s only in recent years that we have seen more diversity within magazines.    

🎭 Film and television is another media type that assists the idea of what beauty should be. In the film industry, it is portrayed that men should be the superhero, being the strong and mascaline person. Women are portrayed in a way that they should be skinny, made up with make up etc all of the time. Even when you see a character who doesn’t fit the stereotypical standards of beauty such as being overweight, that person is now seen as that specific characteristic. This means this person will for the majority of the time be cast for characters that revolve around being overweight. People will quite often refer to that person as “do you know that overweight person on this show” for example. 

🎪 Peers are the friends you have, the people you go to school and work with, as well as family. Many topics that peers talk about are from the media, for example, what the Kardashians look like etc. As well as when people hang out with friends, one of the things that people have to do is get the most amazing photo to put on social media. 

How do men battle with body image?

How Can We Think About Our Body Image Differently?

⚽️ Focus on what you like most about yourself, even if what you like isn’t about how you look. When something negative about yourself comes into your thoughts, stop and change that thought. Try and write a list of things that you like about yourself and when you are having a bad day, take out this list and read it so that you can be reminded about the great things about yourself. 

🏀 Unfollow accounts that negatively affect the way you think about yourself. Or if you don’t want to unfollow as you are afraid of what people may think, you can mute these accounts. This will help you to stop comparing yourself to others since the things that you are comparing yourself to these people are now gone.  

🏈 Don’t forget that not all you see in the media is true, many things are edited, and are exaggerated to fit the needs of society. For example, there’s the need for women to have to be skinny, the person that needs to be curvy and for the men to be muscular and to be seen as the breadwinner.  

🎾 Think healthier, not skinny or muscular. When exercising and eating, it’s not about the number you want to see on the scale. However, it’s more about thinking how much your body can do, all the places it can take you, how it feels, and the experience it brings you. Take time for yourself, take it slow and remember that you don’t have to live up to these stereotypical beauty standards just because others are doing it.

Man Enough Episode 3 – The Ugliness of Body Image

Overall, a lot of the time body image is how we are comparing ourselves to others. There are many external factors that affect someone’s perception of our bodies which builds internal shame etc. However, remember that everyone is beautiful in many different ways and it’s not all about the stereotypical beauty standards that makes someone beautiful.