Browsing Tag:

body image

  • Photography

    Undressing in Gym Class

    Undressing in Gym Class

    If you’re anything like I was in middle school, you dread[ed] having to change in front of the other students during gym class. It wasn’t because I felt like other girls were “checking me out” or being judgement, most of the problem came from how uncomfortable I was with my body. For some girls, it may be something else, such as a religion or just being timid in general. All in all, the root of the problem is the lack of instruction on how the situation could be handled or avoided.

    I ended up pretending to be sick quite a few times, just so I could go see the nurse while everyone was changing. I even missed the school’s Scoliosis Screening tests each year, because I didn’t want to have to take off my shirt in front of the other girls or adults. As it turns out, I have a mild case of Scoliosis and could have been treated for my pain a long time ago with proper physical therapy. Instead, I played hooky with an ear infection and spent years with unidentifiable pain.

    It wasn’t until high school that I discovered a few solutions to my problem:

    • The other girls are more than likely not going to watch you change, in the same way that you probably don’t notice the other girls changing.

     

    • There are bathrooms available to change in in most locker rooms.

     

    • It is okay to be a different body size than the other girls, just as it is okay to have different marks on your body.

     

    • If you still do not feel confident changing in front of other people, then try putting your gym shirt over the one you are wearing without putting your arms through the holes. Remove your arms from the other shirt’s holes and proceed to put them through the gym shirt’s. Then slip the other shirt either over your head or over your waist until you have removed it.

     

    • If you need to change bras, follow the same routine as the shirt, just add an extra step.

     

    • You can also wear your gym shirts/bras/shorts underneath whatever you choose to wear to school. Just be sure to wash them nightly or twice a week.

     

    • If you have friends, try asking them to hold a towel for you to change behind, and offer the same courtesy.

    I found this video with instructions on how to best change in a locker room for additional help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igbN_rPcwT0

  • Body Image, Health

    Society and Unrealistic Beauty Standards

    Society and Unrealistic Beauty Standards

    Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to see how a young woman’s body standards can be so easily influenced by outside factors. Ever see a girl scrolling through celebrities’ Instagram pictures and hear them say, “They’re so flawless, I want to look just like her”? This scenario happens every day with teens and young women. Although some might express this as a light-hearted and innocent comment, some truly want to change their appearances to please society and their peers to be more desired and fit in better.

    This isn’t to confuse with wanting to improve someone’s appearance for a positive reason, such as a healthy weight goal or changing the way one does makeup to enhance their beauty more. The problem arises when a girl wants to change how she looks due to seeing unrealistic perfection or because of the constant pressure from society’s standards of beauty.

    It is no secret that, for years, the beauty industry has given this idea of looking flawless 24/7 to impressionable young women. We grow up looking at beautiful magazine covers, gorgeous makeup ads, and perfect looking hair, nails, body, etc. Although it’s understandable for a company to want beautiful models to sell their products, it gives off unrealistic beauty standards. Why? Because regular people on the street don’t usually look how companies and social media portrays women to be! If you don’t have an hourglass shape, that’s okay! If you don’t have white, straight teeth, that’s okay! Everyone is unique in their own way and should not change who they are because of what society says is “the best.”

    Since social media is so prevalent among celebrities and young people, it worsens the problem even more. Different types of apps allow filters, editing, and photoshop. If a girl wanted to improve her appearance online, she has the tools to do so. This applies to physically altering one’s appearance as well, whether it be through plastic surgery, injections, fillers, etc. Of course, most celebrities do not like to admit that they have used certain measures to make their appearance seem better, but the girls viewing their content can easily think that “this is what perfection looks like, society likes this type of look, and I want to obtain it too.” These types of thoughts usually make girls compare themselves to others, and that is not a healthy thing to do, self-esteem wise.

    Thankfully, companies are starting to realize the self-deprecation girls and can feel while looking at beauty ads or models selling clothes. More and more companies are allowing diversity into their ads, and this gives off a very positive message to young women who do not always fit the “perfect body type” or other types of standards that society has deemed to be “perfect.” Many people, including myself, are applauding these companies for their realistic models that look like the majority of people and not the small niche of beauty and fashion models that have a very specific and hard to obtain look.

    This is a great step in the right direction for the beauty and clothing industry, and more companies should follow their example. The good thing for girls is that if you are aware that today’s beauty standards are unrealistic, then you won’t be as influenced. You can recognize that there are so many different looks of being beautiful. One person’s ideal may not be someone else’s. Don’t be focused on pleasing everyone else. It’s okay to focus on yourself! Self-love is very important for self-esteem and one’s mental health. Sometimes we’re so focused on little details, like always covering up your body or always covering up blemishes that they can take over our lives. Just be yourself, be happy with who you are, and everything else will fall into place.

  • Body Image

    What is “Beach Body Ready?”

    What is “Beach Body Ready?”

    What exactly does “beach body ready” even mean? Let’s start by looking at the origin of the phrase and how it was initially used in context.

    In 2015 Protein World showcased a bold advertisement in the subways of New York for weight loss supplements. These ads featured a bright yellow background and the words, “ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?” prominently displayed next to a thin conventionally attractive white woman in a yellow bikini giving the audience a smouldering look.

    The ad garnered a good bit of criticism and negative attention. Two different feminist groups at the time spoke out about the ad, and why they felt like it was unacceptable. One of these groups explained that it contributes to a culture that hypersexualizes women’s bodies. Shortly after pictures of the ads circulated on social media, a petition was started on Change.org to have the ads removed entirely. The petition accumulated over 70,000 signatures.

    Now, in 2018, a plus sized clothing brand is getting attention for using the phrase “beach body ready” in a way that subverts the message of the original ad. It features the same bright yellow background but with three different plus sized women standing next to each other. The words “WE’RE BEACH BODY READY” are prominently displayed next to the women.

    So if we take into the consideration the origin of the phrase “beach body ready”, it’s probably safe to say that it is used to describe thin bodies. The previously mentioned plus sized clothing brand used the wording of the original ad to reimagine what “beach body ready” should mean, as opposed to what it actually means.

    With all this discussion of what it means to be “beach body ready”, I wrote a short quiz that can be used to determine if you are “beach body ready”.

    BEACH BODY READINESS QUIZ

    Q1- Are you at the beach?

    Yes: Great! Then you’re halfway there.

    No: That’s fine, actually. You don’t need to be at the beach to be beach body ready.

    Q2- Do you have a body?

    Yes: Excellent! Then you are beach body ready! All you need to be “beach body ready” is have a body. It doesn’t matter what your size and weight is. Just wear what makes you comfortable. If you want to wear a bikini, then go for it. If not, then wear whatever you want.

    No: I highly doubt that you don’t have a body. You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t have a body. Since you do have a body, congratulations! You’ve met literally the only requirement in order to qualify as beach body ready. Wear whatever makes you comfortable and happy in your own body. The world is a much more pleasant place to be when you are comfortable in your body.
    Obviously that was kind of a joke.

    So let’s go further into what it actually means to be beach body ready. The original ad implies that one must have a certain body type to be beach body ready, and presumably you must lose weight to achieve a thin appearance akin to the one that the woman in the advertisement has. The media constantly reinforces a very homogenous idea of beauty for women. In TV shows, we see mostly thin & conventionally attractive women with husbands and boyfriends of various body sizes and weights.

    My best advice would be to take care of your body because it benefits your health and well being, not because you want to look a certain way. Take ownership of your body for you. Studies do tell us that exercising the appropriate amount and eating right has wonderful effects on our mood, muscle and bone health, energy level, skin health, and even memory.

    But don’t ever let someone fat shame you as a way of motivating you into getting healthy. Studies also show that fat shaming someone causes them to gain weight more rapidly.

    https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/beach-body-ready-protein-world-advert-plus-size/
    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-exercise#section10
    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fat-shaming-makes-things-worse#section2