Why Are We So Focused On Body Image?

In the United States, girls and women hear and see messages about how they look from the first moments they are alive, throughout much of their childhood, and into adulthood. Young girls and teens are more likely to be praised for how they look than for their thoughts or actions. So how does this lead to us so focused on body image?

Think about that. For the most part, girls are being praised for their looks more often than they are for their accomplishments!

The media focuses on showing women who are thin, attractive, and young. Images of these women are often edited using computer technology. As a result, girls and young women often try to reach beauty and body ideals that do not exist in the real world. As a photographer, I see and hear this regularly. I want my clients to celebrate who they are and what they look like. But many of my clients are so used to seeing and knowing that the images they see on social media, TV or in ads are “Photoshopped”, that they ask for it. “Just Photoshop that” or “I’ve heard that you can make my butt a little rounder in Photoshop…so please do that for me”.  

What can we do to stop being so focused on body image and have a healthy mindset?

The more you practice thinking positive thoughts about yourself and the fewer negative thoughts you have about your body, the better you will feel about who you are and how you look. While very few people are 100% positive about every aspect of their body, it can help to focus on the things you do like. Also, most people realize as they get older that how you look is only one part of who you are. Working on accepting how you look is healthier than constantly working to change how you look.

focused on body image

We asked clients to answer the following questions to help us with this series about body image:

1) What has influenced you the most regarding your body image? Please answer with both the positive things and negative things.
2) What has doing a Beauty/Boudoir session done for your confidence, body image and your feelings about your body and self confidence?

Here are the thoughts of two recent clients, Sandra & Lora:

Sandra's Testimonial

  1. As a woman, I think we all have our physical complexes or things that we dislike and  try to hide, and things that we like and try to enhance. My ex-boyfriend always emphasized the fact that he found me beautiful from head to toe and over time, made me feel beautiful and self-confident. My husband today has the same attitude towards me and I think every boyfriend and husband should make their partner feel the same way and also over time. When you feel beautiful, you become beautiful.

 

2. To be in front of people in lingerie or without clothes actually makes you feel stronger. It basically changed my point of you about my body, my femininity and I later realized, my confidence. It feels very rewarding and truly exhilarating. When you look at the result of a boudoir session with a photographer that not only knows what he is doing with his camera but also can make you feel comfortable as well, you can discover a beauty from you, that you had no idea existed before!

Lora's Testimonial

1) So the things that have influenced by body image has been a wide variety of things, from watching movies as a kid and seeing the skinny girls being the pretty ones. Being told by family members that I was the bigger one of the cousins because I didn’t participate in sports like everyone else did. I really ingrained in myself that I had to be as skinny as possible to be pretty. I have since, and on the daily, been practicing to just be happy that my body has carried me to the place I am in today. Mom to a beautiful 3 year old, making it to 28 and having plenty more years to come. I focus now on making sure that my body is just healthy, I work on making my body a Family, friends and co-workers have been my influence. My biggest issue is that I’ve always had a distorted self image of my body. I’ve pictured myself thin and tone, and in my “20s phase”,  despite not realizing my true image and ill-fitting clothes. It took my daughter taking a picture of me in Paris a little over a year ago to open my eyes and face my reality. It was then that I knew I needed to do something about my physical appearance and well being, for my sake and my growing daughter’s sake. 

2) This boudoir session was a powerful staple for continuing to build on my foundation of positivity and my new self image. Realizing just how amazing I look on the other side of the camera, 41 and pregnant, is a huge step from where I was a year ago. It allowed me to celebrate my accomplishments with my physical growth, my emotional stability and my mental health. Being a healthcare worker in this pandemic, challenges emotional stability daily. This session was rewarding to celebrate me, and to allow me to take time for myself and appreciate ME! 


Check out the next post in this series "How Does Weight Affect Body Image" here!


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