How much do you think the media affects your self confidence and how you perceive your body? I will admit that I didn’t feel like it affected me too much. I don’t really read magazines anymore or get caught up in the “who has lost weight or who looks fat” games that Hollywood plays. But then Lisa posted this picture of Britney Spears on her blog about a week ago and my perspective on media immediately shifted.
Imagine if whatever magazine, ad, billboard, or wherever this picture was going simply showed Britney in her natural beauty. Imagine if ALL images weren’t photoshopped and we got to see the real deal. I think the self confidence of those exposed to these images (aka all of us) would improve immensely. After all, who can you relate to more of the following images?
These are women that are considered incredibly beautiful by society. If the natural states of these women were displayed on magazine covers, I truly believe more women would feel proud of their own looks and have more confidence. Because if Madonna is beautiful and she really looks like that, then I must be pretty beautiful too. 😉
I admit to thinking I wasn’t bothered by these things since I don’t pay attention to them, but I obviously do. Because I was shocked at the difference between the images. And it made me think of how many edited to perfection models and celebrities I have seen and how those shaped my own perception of my body and what it needs to look like for me to be 100% confident. These images are subliminally deteriorating our own sense of beauty one shot at a time. And since I don’t foresee the media changing how they do things anytime soon, I have started working on taking notice of the real side of other women.
I really think recognizing these things has helped me appreciate my own body more. And I am doing it in a very unconventional way. How many times have you heard people tell you “don’t compare yourself to others”?? It is a pretty common piece of advice when discussing ways to feel better about yourself. Well, I don’t know if I agree with that anymore. I used to, but the past couple of weeks that has changed. Why? Recognizing that nobody is perfect, but we each are extremely beautiful in our own ways is incredibly empowering.
Be honest here. How often, at the gym for example, do you notice other women’s bodies and think “oh, she looks so good/fit/strong” or “oh I wish I had her _____”? You know we all do it at least some of the time. Even when I was at my leanest the days before my competition I still had those thoughts. It’s a tough habit to break. One that will probably stop when photoshopping women to perfection stops…you know…when this happens:
So instead of trying to overhaul something so big, I have been simply trying to alter it for the better. When I check another woman out, I will be sure I take a reality check. I will recognize maybe that she has a great butt, but maybe isn’t as defined in her arms like I am. Or perhaps I notice someone that I think has really nice legs or a great flat stomach, but then when I objectively consider my body I realize it is pretty similar. Or I pay attention to the fact that the super toned chick in my Power class still has some love handles, just like me.
I want to be clear here. I am not talking about degrading and putting down other women. We have to lift each other up and support each other as the wonderful creations God has made us into. What I am proposing, is that we are realistic to the fact that none of us naturally look like the women in magazine ads. And we all have physical qualities that aren’t perfect, but we also all have many qualities that others might take notice of and think are incredible, which we should as well. Also, that many of us do not have an accurate perception of our own bodies and unrealistically view other women as perfect and flawless when that is not the case. When I notice that the fellow gym goer I have been eying for her great abs is just as unique and imperfect as I am, I don’t discredit her beauty. I will still say she looks awesome and I won’t hone in and continue to focus on anything I realize is not as perfect as I previously thought. What does happen, however, is I continue to value her beauty but I grow to appreciate my own as well. An unconventional way of looking at things? Yes. But growing to appreciate yourself and that we are all in this together is never a bad thing in my opinion. So if recognizing her butt isn’t as perky as I originally thought, helps me value my badonkadonk so be it. I will still think her abs are hot, but flaunt my junk happily now too. And maybe it will help me not be distracted by, intimidated by, or jealous of her looks, so I can actually talk to her and get to know the beauty that really matters – the inner kind.