Hello everyone! I wanted to write an article on a subject that hits close to me: body image issues. You probably have heard of terms like body dysmorphic disorder, anorexia, bullimia, etc. These are all disorders linked to both body image and the brain. Here are some statistics according to Do Something:
- “Body image” is the way that someone perceives their body and assumes that others perceive them. This image is often affected by family, friends, social pressure and the media.
- People who are unhappy with their bodies and don’t seek healthy nutrition information may develop eating disorders. “Eating disorders” are unhealthy relationships with food that may include fasting, constant dieting, or binging and purging.
- Body image is closely linked to self-esteem. Low self-esteem in adolescents can lead to eating disorders, early sexual activity, substance use and suicidal thoughts. You can post encouraging notes in your school bathrooms to brighten your classmates’ day. Sign up for Mirror Messages.
- Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.
- 58% of college-aged girls feel pressured to be a certain weight.
- Studies show that the more reality television a young girl watches, the more likely she is to find appearance important.
- More than 1/3 of the people who admit to “normal dieting,” will merge into pathological dieting. Roughly 1/4 of those will suffer from a partial or full-on eating disorder.
- In a survey, more than 40% of women and about 20% of men agreed they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future. The statistics remain relatively constant across gender, age, marital status, and race.
- Students, especially women, who consume more mainstream media, place a greater importance on sexiness and overall appearance than those who do not consume as much.
- 95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.
- Only 10% of people suffering from an eating disorder will seek professional help.
Out of these statistics, I think the most alarming are the fact that 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies, 5% of American women have the body types that are idolized by the media, 58% of college girls feel pressured to be a certain weight and 95% of people with body dysmorphic disorder are between 12 and 25. A lot of people don’t understand how harmful this is to both physical and mental health. Many times people with body image disorders either don’t eat (anorexia) or they eat and throw up (bullimia). If someone has an eating disorder they can damage their teeth, bodies, throats, etc. But perhaps the most damage done is to the mind. People often do not see themselves how others see them.
This is Karen Carpenter of The Carpenters. On the left is Karen in the early 70s at her initial weight of 110 lbs., and on the right was Karen at 83 lbs by the late 70s. Ms. Carpenter was the first major celebrity to deal with anorexia nervosa and she died from it. She was bullied by her record label to lose weight. It damaged her mental image of herself and caused her to develop a distorted image of herself.
I’ve never suffered from anorexia or bullimia before, but I do have a distorted body image. When I was young my parents would make comments if I lost weight and it made me feel self conscious. I feel self conscious in a bikini because I have belly fat, and I feel uncomfortable when people stare at my breasts or butt. Being called “chubby” and “ugly” growing up has affected my self esteem.
Body dysmorphic disorder affects men and women almost equally, but arguably for women it is more destructive. Women are the sex who are groomed from a young age to care about their appearances, to look sexy, and that there is always something they can improve. I will not mention the website because it may be triggering to some of you reading, but there are websites where everyday girls post naked selfies of themselves. If you look at the original 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and 95% of women with body dysmorphic disorder are between 12 and 25, most of these women are insecure and unhappy with their bodies. If you think about it, by you clicking on websites and looking at pictures of women online, you’re adding to the problem. You’re validating insecure women’s self esteem in the wrong way. You’re telling them the only way to get respect and attention is to be naked. A lot of people miss the point and think that these women are happy doing what they’re doing.
Many times when you click on these poor girls’ pictures, you forget that sometimes these pictures posted are from revenge porn. I know people who had pictures of them posted on the internet without their consent by ex-boyfriends, and it ruined their lives. G went to school with an 18-year-old girl who made a porno and the school found out, and she dropped out. But perhaps the biggest thing to remember is that when you are giving attention to random girls online with low self esteem, you forget that there’s someone at home who you should be paying attention to instead: your girl.
My name is Sarah, I’m 5’4, 150 lbs. and I am beautiful. I deserve love and respect just as much as anyone else. This is what I try to tell myself every morning. I try not to let the media dictate what I should look like. My BMI says I’m overweight, but I am healthy and love my hourglass figure. I wear clothes that make me feel sexy and comfortable. My partner G loves and supports me on my journey to healing. Some days are easier than others. I wanted to post this for G on here. G, I’m sorry that I am not always able to be happy and confident. It is hard to always be happy and feel good about myself. I am sorry I forget that you need support not for me to be afraid. I appreciate your efforts. Tomorrow will be 4 months since your D-Day, and you’ve only had one slip. I’m very proud of you. I’m sorry I get anxious and obsessive. I get scared that you’ll change your mind and will stop caring that porn of any kind (regular women, celebrities and porn stars) hurts me. Thank you for your effort. It saves me and helps me heal daily. 🎈
Remember what I wrote here next time you feel tempted to call somebody chubby, skinny, ugly, flat chested, etc. It hurts, especially when you’re young. It is important to respect everybody, male or female. We all fight battles everyday. Know that your words are like bullets and can tear someone apart. Someone can