Self-image problems are issues one have with their bodies. It refers to the dissatisfaction of a person towards their own body. It can range from hatred towards one’s body to low self-esteem because of the way a person looks.
Every person has a certain image of themselves or self-image. It is a vital part of a person’s self-esteem. When people feel dissatisfied with their bodies, body image issues arises.
Eating disorders are a common example and consequence of negative body image. There are notions of beauty in every society leading to a mindset about what is “beautiful” and what is “ugly”. Our notions of beauty can be seen in our obsession with a particular body image of a thin body, fair-skin etc.
Media plays a responsible role in perpetuating ideas about what is “beautiful/handsome or socially approved”.
OBSESSION WITH FAIR SKIN IN INDIA
India is a diverse country. We have different geological zones and different features when it comes to one’s body. Some people are dark, some are fair, some of them has mongoloid features, some don’t yet, one thing that is most common is the obsession with fair skin.
India is having its own fairness industry which works on people’s insecurities. Take any random matrimonial ad and you will see “fair” in the section especially for bride wanted ads. People still buy fairness creams, lotions, face washes, medicines, etc to get the perfect fair skin.
WEIGHT ISSUES AND BODY IMAGE
Another huge issue is the fat-shaming and skin-shaming alike. In the case of women, it becomes worse. Due to patriarchy, women are supposed to look a certain way, they should be fair, slim but not too slim, yet have “curves”. In the case of men, they should be muscular, bearded and in some cases, fair too.
Apart from complexion and body sizes, people should have “clear skin” and women should have hairless bodies.
Often weight issues and negative body images are interlinked. Eating disorders like Anorexia and Bulimia where people eat less, vomit their food after eating, count their calories obsessively, compensate eating by over-exercising, self-induced vomiting, using of laxatives, etc are becoming common among teenagers.
Another trend is for young boys using too many steroids to gain muscles and look more masculine.
One of the most common body image issues is related to one’s body hair, women are taught to get their body hair removed at the beginning of teenage while young men are taught to celebrate their facial hair and joke about those who don’t grow a beard is becoming a common sight.
Weight loss, Skin treatment and height gaining have become an industry with advertisements of such plans, medicines, treatments in every nook and corner of metropolitan cities, and they take advantage of a person’s low self-esteem.
Body image issues need to be handled now by shedding such norms of beauty which make people compete against each other. Negative body image can be countered by self-love and acceptance about the way we look. Parents need to teach their children body positivity along with teaching them that their entire value is not in their looks.
Ways to Handle Body-Image & Skin-Tone Issues
The more negatively you think about your body image the more a neural pathway in your brain becomes wider. Our thoughts and information move to our brain through these pathways. So, instead of making them wider caused by your bad thoughts, start thinking positively. Whenever you feel like you are “fat” or “ugly” start thinking to yourself, “no. that’s not true”.
It is a known fact that most of our lives are influenced by the people in our lives, what they say, they do and what are their suggestions for us. The best way to self-love is turning all of these voices out and start listening to your own voice. It is you who is the true owner of your life, not them. So, why should you listen to them?
Start acknowledging what you want. If you want to walk or roam around the city, just do that. Or if you are in the mood for listening music or painting, do that. Do anything that will put your mind at ease from your negative mind and start doing what you love.