Having a positive self-image is essential to one’s psychological well-being. From childhood, females are bombarded with all types of messages of what beauty is and what it should be.
Young minds are very impressionable. If children are told that skinny is beautiful it begins to hold some merit.
Many of the messages are subliminal and may include: slim blondes in beer, car, soda and cleaning product commercials. (the list goes on and on) These images are very relevant because there are many people excluded. Examples of this are the overweight, brunettes, blacks, Asians, Native Americans and Hispanics.
Children attempt to rationalize these images and subconsciously equate them with beauty. The problem surfaces when they look different from what they regularly see and begin to consider themselves ugly. Children also experience feelings of worthlessness and/or self-hate.
Robin D. Stone, executive editor of Essence magazine can attest to that. In the July 2000 issue an article entititled: “My Life: Pound By Pound,” she affirms, “I craved only thinness. From the day glamour girls first appeared in ads and on screen, women have been bombarded with messages about what makes us beautiful.”
With little or no realistic portrayals of women that are representative of the overall population, the image of what is deemed beautiful and desirable becomes distorted. Stone agrees:
“I couldn’t help comparing it with images of women I saw in magazines and on television; images no teenager should have to compete with.”
A negative self-image can have very unhealthy consequences. It may lead to binge eating, over-exercising and eating disorders such as bulimia, which has a well documented prevalence among women of all races, sizes and ages.
These methods of weight control can have detrimental effects on the body. Over-exercising, starvation and bulimia cause dry and brittle nails, infections and a decreased immune system, which increases one’s susceptibility to colds.
The key to a positive body image begins from within. Self-love is the acceptance of you, your good qualities and your flaws. When you begin to appreciate yourself for who you are, you will then be able to realistically assess those flaws you would like to work on.