How Society Negatively Affects Body Image

What is Body Image?

Body image is defined as the subjective picture or mental picture of one’s own body. There are millions of people that have a negative picture of their bodies. Despite their size, they are not happy with the skin they’re in. People are struggling with their body image because of society’s perception of the perfect body. Society’s image of what bodies are “in” and “attractive” is very different from how everyday people look. Society glorifies thin bodies and condemns any body type that’s considered to be overweight. Everyone wants to have the same body type as the Kardashians and the models seen on one of the most popular magazines. According to Do Something.org, a website dedicated to social change about 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies. Only 5% of women naturally obtain the body image portrayed by society in the media.

The Effects of Society’s View of Body Image

Society’s portrayal of body image in the media is a contributing factor to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. When people don’t seek the proper nutrition by changing the way they eat they often begin fasting, binge eating, and disposing of with food. In agreement with Do Something.org only about 10% of people suffering from eating disorders actually get professional help. Body image is connected to self-esteem. According to Do Something.org people with low self-esteem can also lead to early sexual activity, drug use, and even suicidal thoughts. People are desperate to meet society’s image of the hottest bodies, and many are considering plastic surgery to reach it. There’s a study on Do Something.org that says people, women especially that consume more mainstream media have a stronger importance of their overall appearance.

How Society’s View of Body Image is Changing

Society is changing the views of body image by portraying more bodies that resemble realistic body types. Ashley Graham made history by being the first plus-size model to ever appear in Sports Illustrated. She was also the first plus-size model to model in a Michael Kors fashion show. Ashley Graham is changing the media’s and fashion designers acceptance of plus-size models. Many designers either don’t provide clothes for every body type or don’t feature models of all body types in their shows. She is inspiring women by showing them they don’t have to be the perfect body. We as a society need to continue to portray people of all body types, to instill confidence in everyone.