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Archive for June 24, 2013

Media Monday: Reflections on Social Media & Body Image

Submitted by TEPF Volunteer

A while back I decide that I wasn’t going to buy another fashion magazine that reinforced a negative body image. But somehow I never bothered to think about how the social media I engage in might be affecting me.

I can’t take all the credit for my introspection. It was a blog on psychcentral.com that I stumbled across which inspired me to reflect upon the relationship of social media and body image.

The blogs author says, “When we’re building a more positive body image, it’s important to assess and reassess our environment. Our environment inevitably influences how we feel about our bodies, and ourselves.”

So true! Hand to chin, eyebrows furrowed. Hmmm. I thought, funny, I’ve never really took time to ponder this: is my social media environment fostering a positive or negative relationship with my body?

Below I’ve listed 3 questions that the psychcentral.com blog suggests we ask ourselves. Seriously, give these questions some reflection.

Questions:

  1. Which social media sites do you peruse most often?
  2. Why do you visit the sites that you do?
  3. Observe how you feel before using a social media site. Then take note of how you are feel after.

Maybe you found that your social media habits are fostering a healthy environment. But if you feel like you could find a better relationship with your body and social media (as I did), here are a couple of tips suggested and inspired by the psychcentral.com blog:

  1. Subscribe to newsletters that send you affirmative daily quotes.
  2. Post positive affirmations on Twitter or Facebook.
  3. Follow people on Twitter that subscribe to positive social causes.
  4. Notice that you are using social media too much? Give yourself some set limits, like 30 minutes. Or maybe take one day off a week from using social media.
  5. Did you have any surprising reflections about your social media usage related to body image? Maybe you journal, blog or post these thoughts. Chances are more people than you feel the same way.

Source:

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2013/06/body-image-booster-exploring-the-effects-of-social-media/

Media Monday: Embracing Pregnancy Curves

Submitted by TEPF Volunteer

Kim embraces her new body.

In recent years, we have been seeing headlines about Kim Kardashian’s daily dramas all over the place. We have heard about, as well as seen on her reality show, her short lived relationships, short lived marriages, her relationship with Kanye West, and now her pregnancy. However, pregnancy was not the magical experience Kim had been anticipating. As her pregnancy has progressed, naturally she has gained weight. With this weight she has also gained plenty of criticism from the media and her fans. There have been countless articles on Kim’s “incessant eating” and flabby thighs. And after being at the top of the list of attractive celebrities, she’s taking the blow pretty hard. She’s felt the need to hide her new curves and has felt ashamed of her new body.

However, Kim, having just given birth over the weekend, began to embrace her pregnancy despite the negative articles. She’s also had support from other celebrities who debate that weight gain is a natural part of pregnancy. Which, of course, is completely true. Although it seems to be a fact that has escaped reporters. Recently, Kim posted a picture on Instagram flaunting her protruding belly. She was also seen recently strutting on the beach in a bikini, revealing all of her newly acquired baby fat. Although she says that she does not feel completely comfortable in her body as it is now, she is becoming more confident again with the help of Kanye, who is loving her new curves.

I find it hard to believe that even during pregnancy the media promotes a slim figure. When nourishing the growth of another human being, naturally one would need to eat for two and gain weight to ensure a healthy baby. For a woman to diet while pregnant not only endangers her health, but the health of her developing child as well. It’s completely unrealistic to expect Kim to retain her former shape all through pregnancy, and the media should not be influencing other women to hold the same standards to themselves. However, Kim’s ability to overcome the negative comments about her body and proudly show her baby bump to the world will hopefully also influence other women. I hope that she will be an example for other women to embrace their own figures and be confident.

Media Monday: Fat Talk

Submitted by TEPF Volunteer

Image credit: deltadeltadeltaelon.wordpress.com

I’ve done it, my friends have done it, and maybe you’ve done it too. In fact, according to a study in the Women’s Psychology Quarterly, 93 percent of women in college said they have engaged in it.

It’s a familiar scenario.

You go to the store with your BFF and try on a pair of skinny jeans. Perhaps the jeans in a size you normally wear are too tight and you can barely button them up. You look at yourself in the mirror and grimace. Then you start to feel bad about yourself. You call to your friend in the fitting room next to yours, “These jeans make me look like a cow. I need to go on a diet.” Your friend replies back, “Yeah, me too, I’m so fat.”

A recent article in the New York Times blog, Well, discusses this phenomena. According to the blog, psychological researchers refer to it as “fat talk,” and define it as “the body-denigrating conversation between girls and women.” Apparently it is considered a “bonding ritual” that can “aggravate poor body image” and in some cases it can even set “the stage for eating disorders.”

But research has also found that this “fat talk” is not necessarily how one feels about her body, but it is how she is expected to feel about it.

So how do we ourselves break this habit, or help our daughters or granddaughters to break this?

  1. Don’t engage in it. Change the conversation — don’t give the conversation energy.
  2. When you feel yourself ready to make a negative comment, remind yourself “no negative self-talk
  3. Take the blame away from the self or the body — for example, find some humor: “these pants just don’t get us.”
  4. Stop reading magazines and fashion sites that use fat talk to market to women and girls. Find sites and magazines that affirm women of all shapes and sizes.

 

Resources:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/fat-talk-compels-but-carries-a-cost/?nl=health&emc=edit_hh_20130528

http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/35/1/18

Media Monday: A Natural Looking Doll

Submitted by TEPF Volunteer

A new, more natural Barbie, by Nickolay Lamm

Children are heavily influenced by observational learning and tend to imitate those around them. This imitating can apply to parents’ attitudes, peers, siblings, and even to their toys. Therefore, when a young girl plays with an unrealistically proportioned Barbie who wears an excessive amount of make-up, it makes you wonder what type of behavior or ideas are rubbing off on that child. Will this child take the unrealistic figure of the Barbie to be normal, or even desirable? Will she think of the overly made up face of her toy as necessary?

Artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm from the UK wondered the same thing. Therefore, he decided to digitally remove the makeup from different images of Barbie as well as other popular dolls to see what the resulting image would be. When stripping off the thick eye-shadow, fake eyelashes, and bright lipstick a natural looking face was revealed. There were five images of these natural Barbie’s and one of a natural Bratz doll. And while they may not look quite as “glamorous” anymore, the resulting look is something much more realistic. In the end, rather than overly-made up, wouldn’t many parents prefer their children to imitate a natural look and have more faith in natural beauty?

This is the hope that Nickolay has. He hope that companies will adopt this idea and begin to issue some more natural looking dolls to the public and promote positive natural body image to young girls. He also hopes that the next step in this process will be to make the bodies of modern dolls much more proportional and realistic to prevent young girls from getting a distorted sense of what type of body is “normal.”

In my opinion, I think that this is a great idea. It’s difficult to grow up with a positive body image when you began comparing yourself to Barbie at the age of five. I think that having a more natural, more realistic Barbie will benefit everyone…..except for perhaps the companies that produce and distribute these dolls. This may be the biggest obstacle. Body image is not necessarily at the top of these company owner’s priority list, that spot is reserved for profit. Therefore, convincing them to completely alter their product may prove to be a challenge for this advocate of positive body image. However, I have a lot of confidence in his cause and I hope to see Nickolay succeed.