Body Image


Sydney Swanson

“Love yourself for who you are. Magazine images are not real,” Alexa Steiert (’21) said.

    Body image is the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception. Your body image may or may not bear any relation        to how others actually see you. 

     Distorted body image refers to an unrealistic view of how someone sees their own body. Like eating disorders, distorted body image is also a struggle more common for women than men. Studies show that 50% of preadolescent girls, 30% of preadolescent boys, 60% of adult women and 40% of adult men have a negative body image.

     A few signs of a negative body image are obsessive self-scrutiny in mirrors or photos, thoughts of belittling comments toward your body, frequently comparing the size and shape of your body to another’s and envying someone else’s body. So what things can cause these thoughts? 

     The most common reason is the media having such strong control over young minds’ development of self esteem and body image. The media idolizes women so thin it is biologically inappropriate and unachievable, a very unhelpful role model for women. 

     One or more significant events can also cause an unhealthy body image. For example, a female student shared with me that the beginning of her distorted body image started with a friend commenting on her weight. 

     Body image is established well before adulthood and the value you hold on it usually varies specifically on how often the people around you as a child speak about it. Adolescence and puberty is the worst time to hear negative comments because you are most sensitive to them in this period.

     Now how do we fix our body image? The first step is to find the root of what is really causing your negative thoughts, the reasons will vary dramatically from person to person. Consider how much importance you put behind image and then course-correct. Spend less time with the people around you that constantly talk about appearance or try talking to them about how it is negatively affecting your mentality. Practice positive thoughts until they become your every day thoughts.

      Most importantly, always remember it is okay to ask for help! You are not alone.