Modern society influences many aspects of our lives, more than we even realize. It goes all the way – from the way we interact with other people, to how we perceive our bodies based on the others’ perception of them. That is the basis for how we evaluate how worthy we are. All our interactions are both physiologically and psychologically important. That is why it is not surprising that perception of other people can have an enormous effect on us and our body image.
Even the modern pop culture is brimming with motifs which emphasize the importance of turning something unpleasant into something visually acceptable. Children all over the world grow up watching Harry Potter and they all know how a boggart can turn into something which is less fear-inducing. But it is not only fiction that makes us want to change the unpleasant appearance. There are imposed stigmas everywhere you look and we all crave for a bit of “riddikulus”.
Why does imposed self-image and stigmas matter?
Those encompass prejudicial attitudes and discriminating behaviour towards others, either because of their mental health issues or social effects (such as being excluded, poor or leading a different lifestyle from the majority). They modify the way we perceive ourselves.
Where do those come from?
Stigmas are everywhere you look. From the very home and relations among family members, to media. Family affects your self-esteem so you behave like the rest of the family, or the way you think is acceptable. School is no different from that, and you are most likely to experience prejudices and mocking for being different while you are a teen. And of course, the media play the major role.
How to fight against imposed self-image
Understand that you cannot change your overall body type. You can tweak some minor things, but let go of the social stigma first. Yes, you are in a dire need of braces, but still you don’t want to visit even the best dentists, because you are afraid you will be mocked. Stop worrying about others’ opinions and do something for yourself. If this fails to convince you, at least remember that stigma of wearing braces is less common than stigma of having bad teeth. Boost your confidence now, and let yourself have that glowing smile you have always dreamed of. Do not let the society stop you in that.
What is more, media are the one who are to blame for people’s low self-esteem, however, it can be used to boost people’s confidence, too. Instead of comparing your imperfect body to perfect models and unrealistic pictures, look on the bright side and see the positive campaigns which are all about embracing your natural body. The world is slowly changing in that aspect, but it is still changing. Recently, there has been a heated debate over London Tube ads (which promoted the perfect beach bodies) that ought to be removed. What you should do is speak up, and let the world know if you are dissatisfied with the media’s representation of self-image. You will be surprised to see how big a difference you can make.
Appreciate the differences around you. Go to a local gallery and see how the perception of ideal body has evolved over the period of time, and become aware of the fact that every time period has its ideals, which doesn’t mean that you should be a slave to them. You can even see how the tattoos have changed. Once they were signs of honour, but then turned into something which is now frowned upon. Do not give up on your idea of having a tattoo done just because the society might not be accept it, find a professional and fulfil your dream.
— Zigverve.com (@zigverve) August 16, 2016
Stop worrying about imposed self-image and embrace your real self and enjoy the skin you live in. Whatever rocks your boat is good for you!