Body Image and Esteem
As kids we are excited by our reflection, often you will see babies and toddlers kissing and playing with their reflection in the mirror.
When does this fade? At what point does this become Not Okay?
10,000 people every month Google “Am I Ugly?” Thousands of young people have uploaded videos to Youtube asking am I pretty or am I ugly.
With Social media, we are immediately available to the rest of the world. We look constantly at the moments in others lives they feel are worth sharing. We have no concept of what is digitally manipulated and what is not. No grasp of what is a highlight and what is in a normal daily context.
We are basing our happiness on the frequency of these highlighted moments in our lives, searching for likes and assuming the beach shot, party, happy people we see in our friends photographs is their lives. In some way better than yours.
We are living in an image obsessed culture. Judging our looks, weight and style on those we see in the media. Those promoting 6 pack abs and muscle or women promoting #ProAna or #ProSizeZero and #ThighGap
So what is the effect of this?
6/10 girls are now chosing not to do something because they think they don’t look good enough. These are not trivial activities, they are activities fundamental to their development as humans and contributors to society and the workplace.
31% of teenagers are withdrawing from classroom debate and contribution because they do not want to draw attention to the way they look with 20% not turning up to school on days they don’t feel good about it.
When it comes to exams, if you don’t think you look good enough, specifically if you don’t think you are thin enough, you will score a lower grade average than peers not concerned with weight.
These figures are from in studies across Finland, United States, China and Australia with further studies being conducted and are true regardless of how much you weigh.
So to be clear, we are talking about the way you think you look, not how you actually look. Residual Self Image.
Low body confidence is undermining academic achievement.
It is also damaging to health. Individuals with lower levels of self acceptance, are more likely to:
· Consume illegal drugs,
· Higher alcohol intake,
· More susceptible to self harm,
· Eat less healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables,
· More likely to crash diet,
· Higher instances of depression and poor mental health.
· Perform less physical activity,
· More likely to seek and have cosmetic surgery,
· Develop eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia
· Suffer with low self esteem.
Women who think they are overweight, regardless of if they are or not have higher rates of absenteeism. 17% of women in a recent study said they would not show up to a job interview on a day they were not feeling confident in they way they look.
Have a think about that from an Economic stand point. In your own life, or your own business. How much is lost in man hours per year, how often have you had days where you just couldn’t stand to go in, based on how you feel you look or your sense of where you belong.
Think about your own body confidence, or how people in your own life who you feel could do more if they had better body confidence. Those people who you know could reach their potential if they had a bit more self belief, or saw themselves how others see them.
So when is the last time you felt happy enough with what you saw in the mirror to kiss it?