Body Image: A Person-On-The-Street Question

By Brittany CummingsROAR - Body Image

“How do you think the media has affected society’s ideas about body image, and has this influenced your own body image?”

ROAR - SleeveSleeve Johnston, Junior Business/Communications major:

“I would say that it’s changed drastically over the years for the worse, because it’s caused people in society to think they have to look a certain way in order to be accepted. Back in medieval times, it was actually viewed better for a woman to be heavier ‘cause it meant she was wealthy, and skinny meant poor. And now it’s the exact opposite, because junk food is cheap and health food it expensive. As far as influencing my own self-image, at first I bought into the fads, and what society wanted me to look like… but after years of ups and downs, I realized that you are only happy with what makes you happy, and not what makes society happy.”

ROAR - John KolbasJohn Kolbas, Senior Medical Assistance major:

“With all of the reality TV shows, Next Top Model and all that style of media… It shows the appearance of a young woman to be skinny, petite, and tall…Where the majority of America is not 105 pounds. With that being said, it pushes more young ladies, even more middle aged ladies into extreme dieting and extreme workouts, all to try to strive to have that body appearance. For the men, if you are not 220 pounds with big muscles, you are not appealing. I think that social media, the print ads, the TV shows, the movies—it affects everybody, if not directly, indirectly. It has influenced my own body image… I work out hard, I try to stay in ‘decent shape’ and even when I was younger I didn’t want to end up being defined as an obese child, or an obese teen, or an obese young adult. I didn’t want that… I keep away from junk food and sodas, and I concentrate more on the running and lifting and trying to look good.”

ROAR - Carey MakiCarey Maki, Sophomore Medical Assistance major:

“I mean everything we see on TV as far as movie stars and even newscasters—anyone on television is generally thinner than the everyday public. So I guess with us watching TV every day, we probably send message to ourselves like, ‘Hey, maybe we should be that thin…’ But we shouldn’t. And I don’t think it’s relatively that they are all unhealthy necessarily, but that’s just the business they are in—to look good on TV—and that affects our own body image. I’ve always worked out, and I’ve always tried to have a really healthy diet and healthy outlook on body image. I’ve never wanted to be super thin… I’ve grown up playing sports and eating healthy, so I have a good body image. Eating healthy has always been a part of life, so it’s not like that television stuff affected me. You have to be more comfortable in your skin. You gain a few pounds, but oh well, you know?”

ROAR - Becky WardBecky Ward, Junior Nursing major:

“I guess the media kind of portrays men and woman for their bodies, for men to be muscular, buff guys, and for woman to have a very thin, model-type look. And I feel like it has the whole world thinking if they aren’t that size or that look, it decreases their self-confidence. Women especially have those feelings… they feel they need to be bulimic or anorexic to get that body image. And these are pretty girls trying to fit these standards. When agencies look for models, they don’t mind looking for plus-size models, but a majority are skinny, and this reflects on certain girls. Men and woman have these images they want for their significant others, and it’s becoming a problem. Especially woman have this view. In the past it’s affected me. In high school I was very self-conscious… I was 125 pounds, a size 3, but I still had a thick muscular body cause I worked out… I was a very thin girl and I still thought I looked fat, still thought I could never look like those girls on TV, could never be beautiful like that. I became very depressed, but now it doesn’t bother me. I kind of grew up out of it a while ago. People are unique and who they are. The media makes physical beauty too important, when it shouldn’t be. Beauty is how people treat others, who they are, if they do good and what they do for society. People need to start seeing what’s on the inside.”

ROAR - Curtis MakelaCurtis Makela, Freshman Art Therapy major:

“I think it’s definitely led to people thinking beauty is a size. It’s sometimes unattainable, so it leads people to becoming too thin or too letting themselves go. No, I don’t think it really affected me… I mean woman usually try to become skinnier while men try to get more of a chiseled, muscular look. It hasn’t really affected me. For me, I’m not looking to be a Baywatch lifeguard.”

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2 Responses to Body Image: A Person-On-The-Street Question

  1. Diane Miller Reply

    February 14, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I’m encouraged by the attitudes that our students above are sharing. It’s good to hear that they’ve been thinking about the ways their own identities develop. I think it helps fellow students when we share our stories and perspectives.

  2. Breanna Reply

    October 21, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I think that this is a huge problem now a days because we see this perfect image in magazines, TV and other media and most of the time it is not even a real person. With technology today we are able to make ours look different with editing and photoshop. Most of the time the media prey on our insecurity and they have us all wanting to look like this perfect person and most of the time the person they are showing us isn’t even a real person it is a bunch of images put together, so we are all striding for this perfect image or body but we will never succeed.

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