Is the media keeping you from a healthy body image? You may feel bombarded with so much information on what being “healthy” is, only to feel worse about yourself. Maybe you feel like you’re doing everything “right”, but feel unsatisfied with what you see in the mirror. And maybe, all of this is because you have a mind that’s been tricked, distorted even, into thinking that healthy is something that it’s not.
We live in a world of media. It’s how we communicate with people, it’s how we advertise, it entertains us and makes us laugh, cry, and cower. It’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, billboards, magazines, blogs, Netflix shows, movies, and so much more. I sound like an old lady here, but there’s so much good in what technology has brought us, and so much more we can do, now, with the media at our fingertips! But there’s also a price we pay for the good things in life. And the media is no exception. And for us women, it can have a major effect on our body image…we may not even realize it right away.
Thumbing through magazines, and now more so scrolling Instagram, you see perfection displayed in people’s lives. We used to envy celebrities, but they were still somewhat abstract in their “perfect lives”. But now, with social media at our fingertips, we see everyday people like us living out life. What’s the problem with that? The problem is that most people don’t put their genuine life on display. Instead, we only get a snapshot of their life…dolled up, edited, on a cruise in the Caribbean sipping on fruity drinks. It gives a vibrant glow to someone’s life, where in reality it my be grayscale.
So how does this affect our body image as women?
When we only see the best in others, it’s easy to compare ourselves to what we see. We end up comparing our worst against another person’s best. You see the danger? We see the snapshot of what people want us to believe their life is, instead of what it really is. Isolation begins to set in, in your own life, as you feel that you’re the only one with bad days, who’s unsatisfied in their job, who’s kids misbehave, or who have “fat” days. We see other women snacking on 3 almonds, exercising and then fueling up afterwards with a salad, and taking pictures only of their light, clean, organic, vegan meals instead of including the burger and beer they enjoyed the previous weekend (I can be guilty of this, I admit).
So what can we do? How can we protect ourselves, our beautiful selves, from falling trap to the media comparison game? First of all: be genuine, be yourself, on the media. Post ourself without makeup, doing the work grind, sharing your bad days along with our good. But also, one of my favorites, reach out to others you interact with on social media and start communicating with them. Maybe they’re a role model you follow, or your favorite food blogger, or fashion blogger. Maybe there’s a friend you haven’t actually had a conversation with in a while, but have just felt like you’re involved in their life from following their social media. Maybe they’re a complete stranger, but you’re curious about the life they live. Reach out to them! Shoot them a direct message and find out more! People love to have others reach out to them, and by doing so, you’re humanizing yourself and becoming more genuine.
Another thing we can do to prevent media-distorted body image, is to decrease the amount of media we’re involved in on the day-to-day. If we’re constantly seeing people’s best in the media, we may quickly find ourselves feeling worse about our own lives. Being aware that it can have a negative effect on your body image is not always enough…we have to actively unplug to put life in perspective, again. But by focusing on our tangible world and people we run into each day, we’ll be less likely to fall trap to the false image media puts out about who we should be and what we should look like.
I hope you resonate with this. Hopefully you see the potential damage media could have on your body image by now, or if not, I hope your eyes are opened and ready to not let the media distort your body image.
Do you ever find yourself feeling inadequate when you see other’s lives displayed on social media?
Have you ever restricted your diet because of what you see others eating in the media because you thought it was healthy?
Do you feel like you can only show the best parts of life on social media because you feel your real life is not as good as other people’s?
Thanks, guys, for reading! Let’s spread the awareness of being more genuine on social media. Tag #freefrommedia and @steelnchiffon so I can see all your genuine beauty on display!! I can’t wait!
If you want to join a community of women fighting to be strong & beautiful and not letting the media determine your body image, join the Steel & Chiffon: Strong, Beautiful Women Facebook group!
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