What is body image?
It is the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body.
People view their bodies differently that’s what makes an individual to have his or her own unique style of dressing.
People pick up different styles from different places some have a negative impact while others positive.
Body image includes:
It takes time for some one to come up with an image that can be spotted a mile away by anybody.
Some points to note are how we look at our bodies visually, the feeling we get from our physical appearance, the sense of how others view our body image and how much we are connected to our bodies.
Why body image is important?
A simple explanation as to why body image is a priority to people is because they want to look presentable and admirable to the rest. Women spend hours in the mirror trying to figure out the best way to dress or apply make up. They end up wasting a lot of time trying to fix themselves unlike men who some of them do not own even a mirror in the house.
If some one has a poor body image this can adversely affect the person leading to an increase in weight and no control loss of control of their bodies.
This low self esteem have driven many to look for options so as to boost their body confidence. Some opt to do dieting, exercising lot, laxative abuse, vomiting, smoking and use of steroids in order to control weight/body which is dangerous and leads to negative body image.
A quote may can relate with “There is always a vicious circle here: the more a person focuses on his or her body, the worse a person tends to feel about how he or she looks-obsession leads to discontent”.
The human body thrives through compliments from different people this makes a person feel satisfied with the way they look. Negative compliments tend to make some one feel depressed and feel unwanted by the people surrounding them. Good comments about a person’s body image fuel their inner beauty and how they look at the world in general.
A lady wants to be told she look amazing every now and then so that she can feel powerful which triggers her mind that she has control of her body entirely.
But if a lady receives bad comments relating to how she looks her mind is set that no one likes her and she not worth looking at this is what leads people to do plastic surgery and the recent trend which is bleaching.
How to develop a body image?
When growing up body image was never an issue because our parents dressed us the way they knew best. Some times a child could wear all colors at the same time that prompted criticism from the friends.
At a certain age that’s when a person starts to develop his or her own style. The most common was by watching how other people were dressing and how they looked with a hairstyle or shoes that defined their identity.
The people around us mostly our friends help to develop our body image, conversations about clothes, looks and attractiveness provide a context for paying attention to interpreting appearance related information.
Friends are very important in body image development because of the sheer amount of time involved, the value of friendships and the way in which friends create shared norms and expectations about appearance.
This is the most powerful tool that has contributed significantly. This is through the various forms of media in the society for example Magazines, Internet (social media platforms available), Television and Radio.
Many youth look up to different celebrity figures mostly in the entertainment industry the musicians and movie actors/actresses. I carried out a study to see to what extent the celebrities affect a person image and the results were astonishing.
A lady from Nairobi who chose to be anonymous said that she looks up to Vera Sidika who is a famous socialite in Kenya who has earned her money through strutting her body. The lady claimed that anything Vera wears is what she will wear just to look like her. I asked her about if she was going to bleach her skin because her mentor has already done that. The reply I got was surprising “I have already booked an appointment to with a specialist so that I can get it done”, she said. “Do you know the reppurcations that are there for bleaching your skin?” I asked her. “I don’t care as long as I look like Vera Sidika its fine by me furthermore its my life and I can live it the way I want”, she said.
This shows that many people are been lead a stray to do extreme and crazy things so that they can fit in the society and in the limelight whereby they must look cool. This is one of the negative effects of the media in establishing a person’s body image.
Another negative effect is the modes of dressing most Kenyan ladies are donning skimpy dresses so as to impress and attract the opposite sex. This is causing a lot of noise from the Kenyan men who are saying the women are out to get them.
The women seem not to be relenting and they even wear skin tights that reveal all the curves on their body. It might seem fashionable but our ancestors turn on their graves by the sight of these ladies who claim to be trendy.
The negative effects heavily outweigh the positive effects of the media but there are good contributions to the society. The media enables us to get new information about many things. There are programmes on television that talk about the healthy living styles, how to control/check your weight, better eating habits and dangers of using extreme methods to boost ones body image.
A young man who I got the chance to socialize with said that his idol was Kanye West a United States rapper who is always on the limelight for wearing ‘man skirts’. Many have copied the trend and have started wearing these types of clothes ignoring the social effects it will have on them. Their only main concern is to look cool in the wears.
Here is further explanation on the effects caused by different types of media platforms:
Our minds are made in a way that we are attracted to colorful and extraordinary things. The television is a powerful device that can build or destroy a person’s image. When celebrities wear any type of cloth it instantly becomes a fashion trend and everybody wants to dress like so and so. For example if a famous singer wears a piece of sack of gumboots on a hot sunny day the youth will emulate that style instantly.
Before the television revolutionized people live the youth of the early days used to dress appropriately barely showing their thighs or cleavage. It is considered fashionable to wear the latest designer clothes and a certain style, if you don’t you are considered a fashion outcast who doesn’t have any taste plus lacks the hype of being cool.
Publications have a firm grip on the minds of the youth, which made them like zombies following things blindly without asking questions. Ladies do to the extreme of cutting faces of models in the magazine and replacing them with their pictures so that they can feel good about themselves. This does not improve ones self esteem one bit but instead creates a cloud of belief that can be blown away by a single negative comment from some one. You find the youth have a number of style magazines that they consult before wearing anything or choosing a particular hairstyle. The youth tend to forget that we were all born differently with unique qualities that no one else has making us stand out to the rest of the world.
This is the domain that has constantly dictated how we live our lives and will continue doing so as long as the world is becoming more and more technological.
This is a platform where you can find anything you search for example how to bleach ones skin, the best way to seduce a man through the mode of dressing and the latest fashion trends among other many more sites people visit.
The main contributor to the widespread use of the Internet is the easy access to the youth and its simplicity to maneuver it.
Recommendation: Ways to boost a person’s body.
Some ways in which a person can boost his or her appearance is by blocking out all that is advertised or shown in the television or messages from the radio. Another way is to stay off the scale it is not a good attitude to always climb on a weighing scale every time to feel good about your body image. Have a positive attitude of telling yourself “I feel good”.
Realize that you cannot change your body type and appreciate and accept your genetic inheritance. Avoid as much as possible comparing yourself with others, you are physiology unique because you can able to sense your body’s needs and abilities and research show that too much comparing leads to a negative body image.
Move and enjoy your body which makes it feel at peace, strong, and energized plus involving yourself in activities such as swimming, dancing and biking so as to have control of your body.
The other recommendation is to reduce the amount of time spent in looking at the mirror everyday because the more you spend lots of time in front of the mirror this charges the negative body image.
Spending time with people who have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies is another sure way to boost your body image. This goes a long way to nurturing your inner self, which builds up self-esteem for both men and women.
A person’s image can only be affected if he or she pays attention to the media and all that is trending. Feeling good about one self is the only key and ammunition one needs to survive in this world of discouragers by focusing on their own image development without minding what other people say.
We were all born wonderfully with God’s image and it is not right to corrupt our images through chemicals or plastic surgeries to look like some one else on earth.