COVID-19: Staying home, getting fat, maintaining a positive body image.
With COVID-19 forcing most people to stay indoors in the last few weeks, one natural consequence is weight gain.
Everyone and their dogs seem to be getting fat.
This has reignited latent body image issues in a lot of people, myself inclusive.
Body image is the mental representation we create of what we think we look like; it may or may not bear a close relation to how others actually see us.
It is the way that someone perceives their body and assumes that others perceive them.
Body image is not based on fact. It is psychological in nature and much more influenced by self-esteem than by actual physical attractiveness as judged by others.
Women’s body image
Today, women hate their body, more than ever before. Body image issues affecting both men and women have reached a “critical level” on a global scale.
There are many factors that may contribute to a poor female body image. We live in a culture where thinness and beauty are highly valued for women and wealth and success are often considered to go hand in hand with a slim figure.
Thanks to the media, the world communicates all kinds of things about what the ‘perfect body’ is supposed to look like. We get these messages from images on TV, movies, advertisements and social media.
Key facts about body image:
- The average size of the idealized woman (as portrayed by models), has stabilized at 13-19% below healthy weight.
- The thin ideal is not achievable for most women and is likely to lead to feelings of self-devaluation, dysphoria (depression), and helplessness.
- 89% of women in a study of 3,452 women wanted to lose weight.
- Constant dieting and the relentless pursuit of thinness has become a normative (seen to be normal) behaviour among women.
- Thinness has not only come to represent attractiveness, but also has come to symbolize success, self-control, and higher socioeconomic status.
- A disturbed body image is a significant component of eating disorders and plays an important role in the development and continuation of eating disorders.
- Only four percent of women globally consider themselves beautiful.
Major causes of body image issues:
- Media exposure has been found to constrain young women’s conceptions of femininity by putting appearance and physical attractiveness at the center of women’s values.
- Girls and young women who more frequently consume or engage with mainstream media content also support the sexual stereotypes that paint women as sexual objects.
- Frequent viewing of reality TV programming among young women is associated with a stronger belief in the importance of appearance.
How do we win this battle?
- By individually and collectively refusing to accept the media stereotype of beauty. There’s beauty in ALL body types, regardless of shape, colour or size.
- Focus on your accomplishments and good qualities. Too many ladies spend too much time hating themselves.
- Spend time with people who love you. Do not be too engrossed with TV or social media networks, looking at the media’s definition of beauty.
- Most importantly, learn to love the poop out of yourself; warts, flab and all.
Have you ever struggled with accepting your body? Drop your comments below.
Until the next post…