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Student Blog: We need to be positive about our body image

13 June 2019

Charlotte chose to base her recent English persuasive speech, which she then delivered in a powerful assembly, on the topic of body image because she believes that even the most apparently “perfect” people can suffer from insecurities, and she wanted to show her audience that it is a sign of strength, not weakness, to ask for help… 

We need to be confident and positive about our body image

 

Do you realise that all photos you see now are edited?   

Photoshop was created in 1988. As a result, nowadays we live in a society where we feel very pressured to look a certain way. If it wasn't for social media, we would all think differently about ourselves. 

Young adults all over the world use different social media platforms where we see content that makes us feel self-conscious about ourselves. Every day, we see photos of models, fitness and make-up gurus all looking perfect. What we don’t know is that most of these apparently perfect photos have been edited with filters and photoshop in order to change the lighting and the bodies of these normally good-looking people to make them look perfect. When seeing this, we immediately start judging ourselves – our bodies, and our lives. We start feeling bad in our own skin, as if there was something wrong with ‘my face, my stomach, my clothes’. 

Looking back to thirty years ago, low body confidence was not such a large issue as it is now, and this is because of the pressures that we are all under because of social media. This leads to girls doctoring images of themselves. According to Dr Pippa Hugo “9/10 girls doctor their pictures to make themselves look thinner”. When girls see themselves in the mirror, they will often think that they are much bigger than they actually are. This misperception is caused by social media, its photos and its content in general; these images make teenagers, especially girls, feel that we need to lose weight or be like them. Yet actually, what we’re not aware of is that behind these photos, there are people that are not even happy with themselves even while we are envying their bodies. And worse - seeing these thought to be “perfect” figures, can lead teenagers to develop  extremely dangerous issues, such as eating disorders like Anorexia. There are approximately 70 million people in the world that see a distorted body image of themselves and suffer from an extreme fear of gaining weight. While these people are trying to become thinner by not eating, they are not only losing an unhealthy amount of weight but slowly killing themselves inside. 

I chose this topic as I believe that every single person has been through or experienced these feelings, including myself. We have all felt insecure about ourselves because of “perfect” images on social media. And we have all posted images of ourselves looking “perfect” on social media. Yet none of us actually feels perfect on the inside. And we shouldn’t be trying to. We should be trying to feel happy and confident with who we are, not who we think we should be. Self-confidence is extremely important: how you see yourself is how everyone else is going to see you. As the saying goes: “Act confident and no one will question you.” If we all believed in ourselves and loved our bodies, no one would question the way we look or dress. There are many ways of changing our feelings of insecurity and self-doubt, and the first step is to understand that no one is perfect; and that, actually, our imperfections make us unique. 

I want you to stop for a minute and think: think how important our bodies are. As Amy Flowers, Doctor of the American Psychological Association says: “We’ve made our body such an enemy, but we should view it as a friend.”

So instead of looking in the mirror and thinking about what you don’t like about your body, mentally acknowledge all that your body can do: sports, daily life tasks, even giving birth for women. 

Everything we do and we are, is thanks to our bodies. Don’t you think that harming our bodies purposely is so selfish, when all we should have is thanks for it? Instead of harming ourselves, we should take care of ourselves. Looking good on the outside, doesn’t necessarily mean being healthy on the inside. Most important is having a healthy way of thinking and being able to recognize a problem.It is said that “A problem shared is a problem halved.” Do you think getting help is okay? 

Most people are afraid of asking for help and sharing their issues. They fear people’s reaction or maybe possible consequences. But one of the biggest things that stops someone from seeking help, is the fear of showing weakness. Today, I want you all to understand that, actually, asking for help makes you stronger, not weaker. We don’t want to ask for help because it feels like admitting that we can’t do something. It makes us feel vulnerable, and that’s why asking for help is one of the hardest life skills to practice. But sharing one’s issue with someone else’s hands and trusting that person means that you have an ambition to grow stronger. And we are most strong when we are not putting ourselves down but focusing on all the great things that make us who we are.