So if I was to have a ‘niche’ blog, which of course I am ‘supposed’ to do if I were to follow the rules of blogging, it would be on the topic of Body Image. More specifically, promoting from very early on in children’s lives, a Positive Body Image.
So what does ‘body image’ actually mean? I don’t know if this term is super-descriptive in terms of immediately connecting people’s minds with an idea, or imagery (pardon the pun!). To me, it’s about how one’s view of their physical self, and that of others, impacts on their thoughts, views, activities, goals and achievements in life. It is all-pervasive; whether we are able to recognise this is another thing entirely.
Since forever, we (society) have been perpetuating negative body image amongst our women and girls, by not only applauding unrealistic bodies, but by making some women feel and believe that they should be described and defined by how they do (or don’t) look and what they do (or don’t) wear. This is not improving, in fact it is growing worse because men and boys are now experiencing it too.
So, who and what are the main offenders and what can we do about it as individuals and/or collectively?
For me, it’s not just about the magazines and TV shows. It’s also about the conversations we are having with ourselves and others, and the actions we do and do not take, to stamp out incidents contributing to negative body image and instead promoting positive experiences.
I challenge you, over the next 24 hours, to be mindful of what you say and do, that could be harming your body image or someone else’s. Some things to consider:
- When making food choices and saying ‘no I shouldn’t eat that because…’. Because why? For most people, the answer should be related to inner health rather than weight-related. See if you can reframe what you think and say!
- When talking with children: stop yourself from saying anything related to weight or anything about attractiveness, e.g “we can’t eat too much sugar or we will gain weight” (you only have to say this once to a child to create a lifetime impression on them that they need to watch their weight). Try ” eating too much sugar can make our insides sick”.
- When you look at yourself in the mirror, take note of what you are looking for. Are you trying to pick faults in certain parts of your body, or are you making sure your underwear is not in view and there’s no toilet paper stuck to your shoe? There is a difference, isn’t there?
- What clothes are you wearing and why? Did you choose it to look skinny/curvaceous/attractive to someone else? Or did you choose it to feel comfortable and appropriate for the situation?
Please comment below on your experiences with the 24 hour challenge! Did it bring about new awareness Did you change your thoughts and words?
There is so much more I could talk about but I’ll save it for another day and hand over to you!