Body Image Impacts Everyone

Be honest. When you saw this was going to be about body image, you probably thought about a teen girl problem, right? If not that, then at least a woman. In our society today, we think that having problems with your body is something only women deal with. But this just isn’t the case. Every person is susceptible to body image issues.

I’m going to start this with two statistics from Psychology Today:

  1. A remarkable 84 percent of women and 58 percent of men report having dieted to lose weight.
  2. Forty percent of women and 29 percent of men say their partner's opinion about their appearance is very important to their body image.

Men and women are in a constant struggle with body image. Almost all of us struggle with the size and shape of something connected to us. Whether it’s boobs, hips, stomach, nose, ears, feet, height, weight, hair, and so many more things, we all usually have that “if you could change anything...” body part. We all struggle with being 100 percent happy with what we look like. Focusing in only on one demographic of people in this issue, specifically women, leads to stereotyping and erasure of others suffering in the world.

Society pressures us to force ourselves into predesigned molds. Men must be muscular, tall, manly, emotionless, handsome and strong. Women must be skinny, small, not too prudish but not too sexual, quiet, intelligent and beautiful (but they can’t know it, shh). These expectations force people into wanting to be this unachievably “perfect” person. People can’t be themselves without being judged. It’s against the norm for people to believe in and actually like themselves.

Recently, there has been a movement of men trying to increase awareness of this issue. People have started to express their frustrations with the unsaid male standards. Similarly to Barbie’s new dolls with varying height and build, there are new Ken dolls. On top of the original, there are new Slim and Broad Kens, helping young children recognize that there are many shapes that people can be. Sure both our “revolutionary” new toys still have a long way to go in representing everyone on this earth, but they’re still one step closer than before.

In conclusion, I ask you to please open your minds to the idea that those you wouldn’t expect may also be suffering. Never assume how anyone feels about themselves. The person who you see as perfect might name twenty flaws in ten seconds and the person who you think might dislike themselves may love themselves unabashedly and completely. Everyone struggles, often silently, so do your part to make this world just a little bit easier to live in.

Spread love.