Body image is the way you see yourself and imagine how you look. Having a positive body image means that, most of the time, you see yourself accurately, you feel comfortable in your body, and you feel good about the way you look. A poor body image can cause many negative psychological and physical effects. With the image portrayed in the media, it has made self confidence harder to find. While the media shows unrealistic types of women it gives girls an unrealistic idealization of what they think that they should be. Body imagine is also affected by peers, as teens develop.
Many children get made fun of and picked on in schools because of their looks, weight and height. All these scenarios lead children and teens to believe that they are not an ideal imagine and may become self conscious of themselves at a young age. Body imagine can hurt and create negative thoughts to anyone at any age.A negative body image is A distorted perception of the person’s shape; they see themselves unlike they really are. One may be convinced that only other people are attractive and that their body size or shape is a sign of personal failure. The person could feel ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about their body. A positive body image is a clear perception of their shape they see the various parts of their body as they really are. Positive body image Celebrates your natural body shape and they understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person. One should feel comfortable and confident in their body (NEDA, 2016). Negative body images can start as early as elementary school.
Kids as young as four think their ideal weight is thinner than their current weight. By age four, children want to be thin. Young children are already thinking they need to be skinnier, to look better. Forty percent of six year olds have also indicated that they have tried to lose weight, that being said by age 7, one in four children have engaged in some kind of dieting behavior (Greve, 2016). While both girls and boys are struggling with body image, girls experience this issue much more. By age 12, many girls won’t risk exposing their bodies to anyone. For example, girls may not want to go to a public swimming pool or change for gym class, because they are nervous about their appearance, and what others may think of them. Many studies have routinely found that large amounts of elementary school students are dissatisfied with their bodies. The longitudinal study surveyed over 4,000 children between the ages of 8 and 9 and then again between the ages of 10 and 11.
The results showed that children were more likely to be dissatisfied with their bodies at a younger age, between 8 and 9.“There are some concerns there, that at that age, children are already feeling bad about their bodies,” AIFS Executive Manager Dr. Ben Edward said “What we are seeing is that kids are starting to think about this far earlier than people had realized and the implications of that on psycho-social development also seem to be occurring much earlier”( Greve, 2016). By age 15, many girls react to constant teasing and harassment about their bodies by resorting to extreme weight loss and binge eating. (NEDA, 2016). Girls who have negative thoughts about their bodies may withdraw from physical activities and other learning experiences in school. This is where many girls decide to quit sports and after school activities because they don’t feel good enough or positive enough to compete. A positive body image builds self-esteem and creates well-adjusted children who are enthusiastic about life’s opportunities and while girls are worrying about their weight they aren’t not fulfilling life’s opportunities. “I find it really disturbing that we are finding these statistics at such a young age,” said Eve Reed, a pediatric dietician. “I think it is important to communicate the very strong message that children are loved, whatever shape and size they are, and that everybody is different” (Greve, 2016).
The media plays a huge role in the influence of body imagines, and why young girls start worrying about their bodies so young. “Together, Americans spend 250 billion hours watching television every year. According to the California State University at Northridge, advertising accounts for about 30 percent of all television air time. The average child watches 20,000 television commercials every year (Mirror-Mirror, 2016). Television is not the only place we see advertisements. Popular magazines and women’s magazines and many teen’s magazines, are filled with ads. We even see pop-up ads online. The media and body image are closely related due to the number of images we see in the media and the excessive amount of exposure we have to those images. Although advertising aims to convince us to buy things, ads very rarely portray people that look like us. The average female fashion model wears a size two or four, for instance, while the average American woman wears a size 12 to 14 (Mirror-Mirror, 2016). Clothing designers often say they only use very thin models because the clothes simply look better on them.
Photos of models in print ads are often “touched up” in order to disguise minor flaws or make the model appear even skinnier than she really is. These “false body image” ads, shows us bodies that are not real at all or that are not very realistic or representative of the general population. Again this lead to children believing they should look like the far fetched models rather than the average human. Anything we look at for so many hours has to affect us (Mirror-Mirror, 2016). Body images, create many issues amongst young people such as depression, anxiety eating disorders. People with negative body image have a greater likelihood of developing an eating disorder and are more likely to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and obsessions with weight loss. emotional distress low self-esteem unhealthy dieting habits anxiety depression eating disorders take risks with their sexual health social withdrawal stop doing healthy activities that require you to show your body, such as exercising, having sex, going to the doctor, or swimming Adolescents with negative body image concerns are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and suicidal than those without intense dissatisfaction over their appearance, even when compared to adolescents with other psychiatric illnesses, according to a new study by researchers at Bradley Hospital, Butler Hospital and Brown Medical School (Lifespan, 2006).
The mother-daughter effect causes a huge impact on young girls. How mothers talk about their own bodies can negatively impact their daughters. Five- to eight-year-olds who think their moms are unhappy with their bodies are more likely to feel dissatisfied with their own (Wallace, 2015). Mothers may not realize the message they are sending to their child while negatively viewing themselves, they arte teaching their child ‘s to do the same. Children pay attention to what mothers say and do even if the mother feels like her children could care less. If they are always complaining about their weight or feel pressure to change their body shape, their children may learn that these are important concerns. If they start new “miracle” diets or are always talking about a new diet fad the children may learn that restrictive dieting is better than making healthy lifestyle choices. If a mother tell their daughters how they should look or if she would be prettier if she lost weight, she will learn that the goals of weight loss are to be attractive and accepted by others (Women’s Health Gov,2009) By telling children these negative manners you are teaching them body image in a negative way.
Children catch on fast and daughters look up to their mothers tremendously. Parents are role models and should try to follow the healthy eating and physical activity patterns that you would like your children to follow for your health and theirs. Extreme weight concerns and eating disorders, as well as obesity, are hard to treat. Yet, you can play an important role in preventing these problems for your children.Another way we can eliminate negative body imaging is though banning “fat talk”. Parents can do this by talking to kids at an early age and by emphasizing health, not weight, and teaching appreciation for all shapes of people (Greve, 2016). Rather than harping on your body we should be teaching kids to say why you appreciate your own body. Teaching children to watch what they say about other people ‘s appearances and their own will help with the issue of negative body image and bullying. While parents are teaching a good behavior about body images they should tell their children instead of focusing on the way someone looks … shifting that conversation, from how someone looks healthy to how someone feels healthy, teaching children a proper language towards subjects further their education and development of others and themselves. Saying “fat people do this and thin person do this” creates a barrier between images that should be destroyed. Children learn what their parents teach them, they catch on fast. Parents should be teaching their children positive thoughts and teaching them not to stereotype themselves or individuals will help their confidence as they grow (Brant, 2016)
All in all, negative body shaming is starting to effect children younger and younger. As children are starting to worry about there weight as young as four. Something needs to be done to change this negative connotation. Media does not help children see them selves and their body as ideal or perfect, that being said I believe parents need to fulfil the role of helping their children realize the real beauty of everyone. Children look up to their parents and truly believe what they say, parents can make a huge impact on their child’s behavior and health. It is so disturbing that children so young are worried about being thin, and have tried weight loss solutions because they think they are not pretty enough not good enough. Its sad, but with the help of parents, healthy habits, teaching children about the false hopes of media I truly believe children will learn about true beauty and appearance is less important than personality.