Body Image

I look at the girl in the magazine –

Perfect teeth,

Perfect hair,

Perfect skin.

Is she for real?

Doe she ever feel like me?

Ordinary.

Spotty.

Straggly hair.

Awkward.

Away from the makeup,

The lights,

The camera,

Maybe she does feel like me…

It’s natural to be a bit insecure about how you look, especially during adolescence when your body is changing so much. Pimples can be unpredictable. Bad hair days happen. Guys may feel too scrawny or too flabby. Girls may worry about breast size – too much or too little. This time of insecurity about how you look will get better as you get a bit older.

One thing’s for sure – the models in the magazines never look worried about their appearance. But how real are they?

It’s well known that magazines touch up their photos. Pimples are removed, cheeks and chins altered, eyebrows slanted to that perfect angle – all easily done with photoshop technology.

Ex-models talk about the starvation diets they had to endure, the criticism of their body parts, the pressure to have plastic surgery or lose work.

There’s evidence that girls as young as 6 and 7 are starting to compare themselves with fashion models and worry about being ‘too fat’. They are talking about dieting and plastic surgery. Anxiety about body image and anorexia are affecting younger and younger ages, and not just girls.

Boys too can be affected by the media’s promotion of a narrow range of ‘acceptable’ body types. We can get caught in a rut of constantly worrying about the question – ‘do I measure up?’

AIM!

Don’t aim low, aim high!
Magazine defined ‘beauty’ is something we can never have because it’s not for real. Why spend your time, money and perhaps your health trying to look like something that’s not for real? Aim higher – be yourself.

Accept
Healthy body image starts with accepting that you are a unique individual with gifts and talents no one else has. Outside appearance is never the measure of who we are. The sort of qualities that attract others to you long term are being kind, genuine, tolerant, considerate and good humoured – all the stuff your mum keeps reminding you about!

Ignore
No one can measure up to the way movie stars and fashion models look – not even the movie stars and the fashion models! Without their hair and make-up experts running around after them they wouldn’t look so good either. If you’re reading a magazine, remember a lot of the images are fake. Have a laugh but don’t take it seriously.

Make the Most
Celebrate who you are. Be healthy. Get involved in life. Find your strengths. Dress to suit yourself – your size, shape and colouring, likes and dislikes. The best fashion is the fashion that suits you!