The Article Was Published on Reflectionmagazine.net.
The negative effects media has on women’s self-esteem and image have been discussed and debated for decades. There is no doubt that media also has positive consequences, but the useful part of talking about the negative aspects is that we can find solutions and overcome the issues.
The Effect of a Thin-Ideal Media
Beauty sells and nobody can argue with this statement. If we spend time reading magazines, watching TV or just going through our Facebook feeds, we notice that most of the time, beauty is associated with body weight, especially when it comes to women.
There are few celebrities and, even fewer fashion models whose popularity and wealth are not strongly related to their beauty and body weight. Unfortunately, the majority of them gain their fame thanks to their looks and to the diet they follow. Otherwise, how did Instagram become what it is today?
What are the effects? Well, everything begins with young ladies worrying about the way they look. Now, it is normal for a person to take care of herself, but does this mean that it is OK for five-year-old girls to worry about their appearance?
If some might think that banning little girls from mass media is the solution, they should think again because they are not the only victims. Adults are not immune from these negative aspects. Women who are far from the standards imposed usually feel ashamed of the way they look. This is probably why cosmetic surgeries are so popular nowadays, isn’t it?
Seeing the World Through a Filter
Some might say that we can all decide not to watch TV or read magazines, but is this the solution? Are we all going to stop using social media networks, too? Since social media is actually the main way people communicate, especially when they live far from they families, or work in front of a computer all day, this might not be the best answer.
But how can people, especially women, deal with the effect social media has on their body confidence?
It is difficult not to have issues when we are constantly exposed to the perfect images provided by Facebook or Instagram, and supported by the multitude of filters and photo editing options available out there. With all these, there is no doubt that too much time spent on social networks can only lead to self-objectifying and other negative consequences.
The Effects of Poor Body Image
So, what are the exact effects media has on young women? Well, they actually depend on their personality, on how strong or weak they are. But the majority of ladies seem to think their bodies are inadequate and to become very preoccupied with diets. The worse part is that they are far from being worried about their health and the diets they follow are usually very harmful.
Of course, these effects tend to feed the low self-esteem and low self-confidence.
What’s next? Well, eating disorders and poor body image can easily lead to wrong decisions and contribute to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and many mental issues.
Why don’t we stop? The truth is that these negative feelings help many companies sell their products. Yes, the sad aspect of life is that some people’s anxieties are the reason why others became richer and richer.
How We Can Overcome This
Even though many companies take advantage of our fears and anxieties, there are current efforts to make them take responsibilities for promoting an unrealistic image of both men and women.
Changing the may women are portrayed by the media is not easy, and it is definitely going to take a while. However, the standards of beauty and the thin ideal are definitely being reshaped. And that brings us hope for the future generations and for ourselves.
But we can’t just wait until the war is won, can we? Trying to make small changes, on an individual level, is also mandatory. But how can women improve their broken self-esteem?
Well, focusing on accomplishments and good qualities is a pretty good start. There are too many ladies spend too much time hating themselves, instead of taking care of their body and mind, aren’t there?
In addition, spending time with people who love us, instead of wasting it on social media networks looking at what strangers do, is a fantastic treatment.
And if there is more than low self-esteem to deal with, psychotherapy or other mental health treatment should be taken into consideration.
Anxiety, depression or eating disorders not only rob women of the joy and happiness they deserve but they are serious conditions that should be treated.