Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and felt disappointed? Or thought to yourself, “l wish I looked like them? ” We may sometimes have an idea in our mind of what we think we should look like, compared to how we actually look. This is called body image dissatisfaction, otherwise known as a negative view upon ourselves. Body image issues are relevant all around the world. They impact both men and women of varied ages. These negative thoughts about ourselves can be influenced by many things, including the fashion industry. But how does fashion media impact our body image issues?
Celebrities in the media can impact us negatively, but they don’t always have to be negative influences, they can be positive too, as well as different types of media may alter the opinions we have on ourselves. The image that individuals have of their body is largely determined by social influences. From an early age we are exposed to images and messages that reinforce the idea that to be happy and successful, we must be thin. Seeing celebrities that we admire ND aspire to look like can often make us feel dissatisfied with our physical appearance.
Celebrities who are super skinny and always dressed nicely make us think twice about the way we look and might contribute to an eating disorder or low self-esteem. 97% of women admit to having at least one “l hate my body’ moment each day (Media Influence, 2012). There are always stories of celebrities losing weight to fulfill what the media wants them to look like, because if they are not “perfect”, the criticism can be very harsh. They will go to the gym, diet, possibly even starve themselves to make these changes.
Since we look up to these people, we think we need to do the same. We believe that we must also be slim, small-framed, and have wide hips but a tiny waist to be beautiful, which is unrealistic and very sad. “The fashion industry simply loves a skinny young girl. And for the average woman, fashion media continues to deliver a brutal, frustrating fantasy’ (Giving, R. , 2012). But, fashion and media don’t always have a negative impact, they can most definitely eve a positive one too. To some, certain celebrities may be an inspiration or a role model when it comes to body image issues.
If you idealize a celebrity who doesn’t give in to such pressures when dealing with weight, it has potential help you feel better about yourself knowing that they believe that we should all feel beautiful and comfortable in our own skin. It can also lead us to want to follow in their footsteps, which involves being true to you. Jennifer Lawrence says she refuses to ‘be hungry to aka other people happy’ when discussing her weight (Watkins, J. , 2013). It’s celebrities like her that send a positive message to the general public about body image and being confident.
Stars like Kelly Clarion, Jessica Alba, and Mary Kate Olsen have all battled with eating disorders. They admit that the pressure to be skinny in the Hollywood world of fame led them to binge, purge and restrict themselves to a certain amount of calories. Although it is very unfortunate that people in our society feel they need to do these things, them coming out about with heir stories and seeking help to be healthy again can allow anyone in the general public to feel that they too should get help and become healthy, which demonstrates learning to be confident in who you are.
Positive and negative impacts can also come from different types of media that are open to and shared with the public. Television advertisements, billboards, magazines, and interviews are all examples of ways we can see what is going on in the world of fashion and fame that can either leave us dissatisfied with ourselves, or feeling empowered. The positive side to these are that we are able to connect with celebrities on a personal level if they have experienced body image issues, but fashion’s impact on us is seen to be far more negative. 0% of commercials aimed at women mention physical attractiveness, a People magazine survey showed that 80% of female respondents felt that women in movies and television programs made them feel insecure about their bodies (Media Influence, 2012) , and the more that teens think about the images they see in magazines and compare themselves radically to them, the more likely they are to have problems with body image and each disorders (Curious, 2011).
A study showed that “sixty-nine percent of the girls reported that magazine pictures influence their idea of the perfect body shape, and 47 percent reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures” (Field, 2000). Many people would call the negative impact media has on us, “fashion’s full figured failure” simply because we have failed to see that we do not need to look like the skinniest actress and we do not need to be a size O to be beautiful.
Celebrities have a strong negative influence on us, but they also have a very comforting positive impact. The images and messages we see through different forms of media have the opportunity to corrupt our minds, or build us up to be confident individuals. You have to define your own type of beauty and ensure that you feel good about yourself, which is hard to do when you’re in a world full of comparison. The struggle of body image issues is very important and is something to be discussed amongst everyone.