Friday, November 14, 2014

Let's Talk About Body Image

     I wouldn't normally write something this delicate, being on a public blog, but seeing as I currently have zero views I don't think it's much to worry about. But that being said, if this helps even two people out there (one being my professor hehe) in any way, then, well, that's great.

     It goes without saying that we all experience issues with our body image at some points in our lives. It might be worrying about our weight, or our shape, or the size of our nose. We're constantly bombarded with false images from the media, of men and women looking so-called "perfect". We've gotten to a day and age where we know that many of these images are photoshopped, and even have campaigns promoting a positive body image. Yet, so many of us still struggle every day, feeling ugly, worthless, unlovable. All because of the way we look. It sounds ridiculous, but unfortunately it's the truth. On the contrary, many of us are still able to function, we manage to put those thoughts to the back of our mind and get on with our days. Many of us are lucky enough to not have those negative thoughts creep up on us all the time; to affect friendships, relationships, school. But there are a small amount of people who are not.

     I'm sure that a lot of people have heard of eating disorders. A person might starve themselves, or purge to try and lose weight, in order to achieve a desired body. A person wants to fit in to this image in which they believe is "perfect", but no matter how much they exercise, no matter how thin they become, their self-image is constantly distorted, so they will never  be perfect, in their eyes. What many people haven't heard of, however, is Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD. Similarly to anorexia, the person's self-image is distorted. What makes this condition different, however is that the person's anxieties aren't specifically surrounding their weight. But the evil, negative thoughts are there, just the same.

     It helps to think of BDD as a type of OCD condition. The thoughts of one's entire self-image are obsessive. To the point where their daily life is disrupted. Someone with BDD might worry about anything ranging from acne, to the sound of their own voice, or the shape of their nose. But instead of being able to merely think "I don't like this about me, but it's not the end of the world", these thoughts become an obsession. These thoughts can make one feel trapped. Who would want to have to deal with such negative, petty thoughts on a daily basis, and be unable to control them? But the brain is such a complex, powerful thing. Our brain is a sort of machine, that recycles thoughts. It sorts through every thought, and every memory, in order to navigate which ones are the most important, and which ones are not. Thus, we forget the ones it deems to be not important, naturally. But the ones that it deems important, are the thoughts that become recycled. So with BDD, it's these negative thoughts, that are constantly being recycled, forever needing to be reminded.

     Though a brief explanation about this condition, I think that we all, as a society, have to stop. We have to stop forcing ideals on to one another, we have to make more of an effort to make everyone feel worthy. We need to stop preoccupation with ones appearance at a young age, before it develops in to an obsession. It is incredibly alarming to see young children bullied for their looks, toddlers being placed in beauty pageants, and ten-year-olds wearing makeup. I believe that this is the root of what is causing such dissatisfaction with oneself, such anxiety over minimal flaws. Feeling inadequate is something I wouldn't wish upon anyone in the world.



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