Standing up for women versus media distortions of body image

BY Malakhiwe Hoffman

#womennotobjects - I stand up for women, mothers, daughters, friends - Manipulated images, airbrushing beauty tricks and the media's most profound lie: The Riebeek Media Club on 14th February discussed the media's most grotesque lies of all time, Photoshopping and airbrushing images. The workshop was based on discovering all the truths about what magazines do to create the 'perfect' female body images. Women of all ages today, live under the impression that being thin and having the perfect features is what life is about, and there is no other source they got this idea from except for the media. They are deceived by false images where models and celebrities have all the perfect features and are portrayed as all perfect and godlike. The girls dug a little deeper, under the surface of false images and found that all the flawless skin, white teeth, long thick hair and so forth, was all dramatically manipulated, and distorted every women's perception of beauty. The girls were also showed clips of women from all over the world, who change themselves though agonizing surgery, trying to fit in the calibre the media has created. The girls were able to relate to this matter by stating how they have to make sure of how they look before they post any photos on social media and how the prevent taking photos because of their insecurities.
The workshop was very inspirational and educational and surely changed a lot in the our lives. Jessica Schoeman concluded with empowering words to the ladies: "When you look in the mirror, whatever you see is the opposite of what you are doing. So all the negative things you see when you look in the mirror is actually the positive aspect in your body." Therefore, ladies, don't conform to what you see because all of it is just skin deep.
For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. Audrey Hepburn

A BBC article reported:
Teenagers can have thousands of "friends" online and that can leave them exposed. You put forward your best self, and that can be a bit dangerous, because you naturally compare yourself to others. Among teenagers, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a number of other messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, are their main means of communicating with each other and the world.
In 2013, two-thirds of teenagers had signed up to the Facebook app, where images are posted and shared millions of times a day.
Social media networks are the primary way young people communicate and their main channel to the outside world
Never have they known so much about their friends' lives and the way they look.In 2012, MPs recommended that all schoolchildren should take part in compulsory body image and self-esteem lessons.An inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image heard evidence that girls as young as five were worrying about their size and their appearance.Adults were not immune from these negative attitudes either, with about 60% of the public feeling ashamed of the way they looked.The MPs' report said pressure to look good had pushed up cosmetic surgery rates by nearly 20% since 2008. Visited schools had talks for 12- and 13-year-olds about how easily images in the media can be altered, enhanced and improved to create something far from realistic.
They understand because they go through the same process when they post images on social media sites. "I ask them to shut their eyes and put their hand up if they have ever enhanced an image on Facebook," Ms Nokes says. The more time spent on Facebook, the more likely people are to self-objectify. They usually all put up their hands. she says. One girl said every image she uploaded had been altered. Most cameras in smart phones have built-in filters and a range of effects that can be used to enhance even the most embarrassing selfies. Social media has a huge effect on young people's body confidence, she explains, because it cannot be ignored. "They can make decisions not to look at magazines and TV, but social media networks are the primary way they communicate and their main channel to the outside world," she says. "But they are seeing the world through a filter, and that's not healthy." Make teenagers feel better about themselves by making them wary of an appearance-based world.It's really important we try to instil confidence that they can be who they are. The aim is to educate young people, to make them more cynical about the images they see and admire, and to work with retailers and businesses to encourage them to be more responsible in their advertising. Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, senior research fellow at the University of West of England's Centre for Appearance Research, says research backs up the link between social media and body image concerns. "The more time spent on Facebook, the more likely people are to self-objectify themselves," she says. She explains there is a tendency to seek out negative social interactions in these forums, and to ask people to comment on how you look, which can lead to body image anxieties.
People using social media sites also tend to cultivate a persona, and even friends and a peer group.In her view, the answer to body anxiety is to showcase a more diverse range of bodies in the media because there is not just one way to be healthy or one ideal look.
Do visit the dove self esteem website for more information on body image among teenage girls.

 February 14, 2017
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