The female body image and what a person should or could look like in marketing and advertising in particular is a controversial issue. It is noticeable that the body size of women as portrayed in mass media has been steadily getting smaller. Marketers will often do anything that they can to sell a product and make a profit, and almost anything can be sold if it appeals to our sense of beauty or is considered attractive.
Beauty sells, and this is somewhat of a problem when the media produce unattainable images for women. Eating disorders are often, though not always and not directly, related to negative body image. While a negative body image may incite a woman to diet in order to lose weight it is not actually negative body image that causes an eating disorder; the sufferer has to be biologically predisposed to developing one. If negative body image alone caused anorexia then every person on the planet would develop anorexia as I am sure we have all at some point felt self-conscious about the way that we look. The fact that not everyone has an eating disorder means that there is something more to it than body image issues alone; that something else is most probably genetic factors.
The Effects of Poor Body Image
For someone genetically predisposed to an eating disorder, dieting caused by a negative body image could trigger one. However for the majority of the population, what happens is a preoccupation with diet, low self-esteem, low self-confidence and never feeling that one’s body is adequate. In addition to leading to the development of eating disorders, a poor body image can contribute to depression, anxiety, problems in relationships, the development of substance abuse problems, and consequently various health problems. Poor self-esteem often contributes to problems in relationships, the workplace, and any area in life that requires confidence. Ultimately a negative body image can lead to unhappiness and depression both of which are also symptoms of low self-confidence.
Addressing The Problem of Negative Body Image
On the individual level, there are some simple things you can do to improve self-esteem, like focusing on your accomplishments and good qualities, repeating affirmations and working with self-esteem workbooks available in any bookstore. For those with serious anxiety, depression or eating disorders related to poor body image, however, mental health treatment is recommended.
If your teen is at the point where professional therapy and counseling is needed, Wingate Wilderness Therapy can help. They provide a cooperative, safe space in a unique therapeutic environment where your teen can not only rebuild themselves from the inside out, but help them become a more confident, stronger individual in the process.
Originally Written by Mirror Mirror Eating Disorders