Darek Jentzsch, Senior, Ag. Business  Katie Kowitz, Sophomore, Ag. Business

Body image: a society of dictators

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“He’s also very obsessed about Facebook too,” Cash said about her father. “I think it’s kinda all-encompassing, like it’s just this image. He just has this idea that people are watching him all the time — That [body building] is all of his identity — at least right now.”

Francis said that when she had body dysmorphic disorder she saw herself as obese.

“But really I was pretty skinny, I just wasn’t physically fit and I wasn’t seeing that,” Francis said. “And for like a year I always thought I had to be like anorexic or something to get skinny. And the media portrays that the best image is like anorexic skinny.”

The media is full of grossly photoshopped images, glamorizing action-figure men, and overly skinny, “heroin chic” women. Statistics say that the number of men and women with eating disorders and body dissatisfaction is on the rise. But there have been many in the industries, which have been cited as the cause of these problems, who are trying to fight the negative body image glamorized by their peers.

In 2006, the organizers of the Madrid fashion week made the controversial decision to ban ultra-skinny models from the catwalk. Advertisers for the personal care brand Dove launched the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004.

Barnes suggested eleven ways to learn to love one’s body.

First, don’t compare.

Second, focus on your accomplishments. Barnes said people need to understand that they are more than just their body and learn to appreciate other aspects of themselves.

Third, learn to take a compliment.

Fourth, work on self-talk.

“Many people are really really critical — abusive in their self talk … the language they use with themselves.” Barnes said. “That relationship with yourself is really the heart of self-esteem … so they need to improve their relationship.”

Fifth, regularly recite positive affirmations of self.

Sixth, learn to compliment others.

“That’s a big one because if everything’s a competition, then if you were to compliment somebody else, that could actually be a threat to you,” Barnes said.

Seventh, focus on the positives.

Eighth, stop fantasy thinking.

“What ends happening is that whatever is seen as different or ideal gets distorted and becomes fantasizing,” Barnes said.

Barnes said that people will start fantasizing about their ideal image, and when they see that they don’t measure , it can be damaging.

Ninth, the person needs to heal their relationship with food, if the person’s body image problem does involve food.

Tenth, body movement. The person needs to make sure he or she is doing things with his or her body, such as exercise or other activities.

Eleventh, find a sport system. Jordan Christensen is a senior studying communications who is working on getting himself healthy. He lost about 50 pounds last year and is now working with his roommate to meet new fitness goals.

Christen said he has always tried to separate his body image from his personal and mental well-being. He said that although it’s not always easy he can’t let himself feel bad about who he is.

“I didn’t want my body to determine how I was feeling as a person,” Christensen said. “That doesn’t define me.”

'Body image: a society of dictators' has 1 comment

  1. March 14, 2013 @ 4:22 pm Ainsley Despain

    Fantastic article Elise!


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