Dieting and Body Image: What is the problem?

In my previous blog posts, I have made it quite clear that the main and most controversial issue among Dieting is the connection between the this and body image. It is acceptable to say that this issue is in fact becoming more harmful now than ever before towards most young adults. According to Kirsten Anderberg (2010), “Women’s Body Esteem is big business”. Billions of dollars are spent on the weight loss industry yearly and this industry is solely dependent on women’s self-hatred. Women are reduced to size, told to be less, told to shed big chunks of themselves for acceptance. The largest contribution to this horrible issue in society goes to media. Teenagers learn what society considers an ideal physique primarily from the media. They are bombarded with images in magazines, movies, on television, and in music that decree what is fashionable and attractive. According to ABC News (2016), an average fashion model is between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall, and weighs 110 to 130 pounds; an average woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 166 pounds (Body Image, 2016). Models and many actresses are usually very thin, but teenage girls who are not thin may view these images and believe that something is wrong with them.

Another cause to this misconception is cultural reflection. The prevailing ideal body images reflect the values of the culture. Currently, America’s ideal body images reflect values of youth, health, and wealth (Body Image, 2016). The popular ideal body is toned, tanned, and lacks excess fat. Although this image does projects healthy food choices, self-discipline, exercise, etc., it still promotes a harmful idea to teens that they need to look like certain way in order to fit in and be “beautiful”.

Since the biggest misconception of dieting comes from losing self-esteem of one’s own body, we should take action to change this idea in these people’s mind. One possible way is to understand your own self-perception. According to Carlin Flora (2010), “As our faces and figures evolve during childhood and adolescence, we create a picture of ourselves that is hard to get out of our minds in adulthood, however outdated or wrong it may be”. People have to realize that we all have the innate ability to change how other people perceive us, without a physical transformation of any kind. Embracing your own body and be confident with your own skin is such a powerful message when you present yourself in public. Another kind of action that we should be aware of is parenting. Our “internal mirrors” are often shaped by parents. As a child, parents should start to embrace how their kid look and constantly tell him or her that he or she is beautiful. The author states that “A child whose parents tell him he’s ugly will have to overcome that perception”, which could be avoided if the parents understand that implanting that thought into their child’s mind can be very harmful in the future (Carlin Flora, 2010).

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