What is Negative Body Image and Having Low Self-esteem?

Have you ever looked in the mirror and said something negative about yourself?

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary body image is, “”a subjective picture of one’s own physical appearance established both by self-observation and by noting the reactions of other. Negative body image and low self-esteem are real problems and I want to discover the causes, how much of a factor social media is, and ways that people can get help to move past it.

Many people see things they do not like about their body that others do not even notice. Negative body image is on the rise and some believe that it could be due to mass media. There is a high quantity of research being done because negative body image does not need to happen. Most researchers are focusing on the main causes of low self-esteem and body image, the effects mass media has created, and how someone can overcome their problems.

Researchers are identifying what in the first-place causes someone to one day love their body to all of the sudden hating it. Negative body-image and low self-esteem are very similar things. Low self-esteem is when someone lacks confidence in themselves often. According to the “”Department of Health & Human Services, (Department of Health & Human Services May 2014), some of the causes for low self-esteem are an unhappy childhood, poor academic performance, a stressful life, poor treatment from a partner or parent, ongoing medical issues, and also mental illness. In another article the Department of Health & Human Services, (Department of Health & Human Services August 2014) states that things such as, being teased about the way one looked in their childhood, having dieting parents, and the medias tendency to promote thinner people, are all causes of negative body image. All of these things that are listed above are things that could lead to low self-esteem and create a negative body image. Through exploration one can discover that there are many things that are said to cause negative body image and low self-esteem. Another cause of negative body image is fat talk.

Some researchers are also discovering what fat talk is and why it happens. Fat talk is as simple as its name suggests. It is talking about someone’s body in a negative way while emphasizing on weight and shape. In the journal, “”Body Image, (Chow, Hart, Tan 2018) it states that 93% of young women had fat talked while only 11% of men had been in this situation. Fat talk could be talking about oneself or it could also be talking about someone else’s body. No matter how it is being done such as about oneself, someone else’s body, or even their appearance it could affect them more than people realize. In the article, “”Fat Talk, written by Sarah Royal for “”The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (Fat Talk 2012) she states that fat talk often happens, and it is not realized that it is being done. These fat talk conversations also happen very often in the dressing room while people are trying on clothing. Social media is said to have caused a raise in the amount of fat talk online.

Researchers are discovering what amount of negative body image and low self-esteem that mass media is blamed for. Social media can be used for very good things, but it can also cause some not so good things. There have been studies that show that when someone looks at a picture of a skinny model they then compare themselves to that model. In the journal “”#SocialMedia, (Santarossa & Woodruff 2017), it explains that the online environment is full of pictures of celebrity and models for someone to compare themselves to other people. Social media is also used as a platform for influencers to help others with things that they themselves have gone through in the past. Richard Perloff says that the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia have all conducted experiments and research that have evidence that social media has effects on body image problems (Perloff 2014). With the rise of users on social media there are a lot of opportunities for people to see others and compare their body to the fit model on social media. Fat talk and social media may cause negative body image and low self-esteem but how does someone who has these things get over it?

Once someone has low self-esteem and see their body negatively, it is very important that they seek help or work on gaining confidence themselves. According to “”The Department of Health and Human Services a few ways to build one’s self-esteem are talking to oneself positively, do not compare yourself to others, do not worry, and there are also many more small things someone can do. People should always talk positively about themselves but if someone is going through low self-esteem it is very important that they find something positive to talk about. One way that would be very simple is to find something positive that they like about themselves every day and this will eventually be a habit. Comparing to others is a very easy thing to do especially because with every advertisement if there is someone on the ad then it is normally a skinny, beautiful girl or a fit, muscular guy. If someone worries often then it is very easy to worry about their body and what everyone else thinks about them but that should not matter. What other people say about you should not bother you at all, but this is easier to say then to actually do. As Bob Marley said, “”Don’t worry be happy.

According to the BYU Counseling Center, at any one point in time 50% of women are on a diet. BYU also reports that 14% of five-year-old girls say that they go on diets. It also stated in the article that 98% of people who diet gain their weight back in five years (Ways to Overcome a Negative Body Image, BYU). Another thing to take in to account when someone is trying to get over their negative body image is their genetics. Everyone is made a different way and not one person looks exactly the same as another. According to “”Building Self-esteem: A Self-Help Guide (Building Self-esteem: A Self-Help Guide), a few other things someone can do to help themself are things such as, wear outfits that make someone feel good about themselves, do things nice to other people and it will make them feel good, and they could also reward themselves for little things that they have accomplished. In conclusion there are many ways for someone to get over their negative body image and low self-esteem problems.

As you can see, negative body image and low self-esteem are major problems in our society today. This can be caused by things such as social media, family problems, academic problems, fat talk, and many other things. People are constantly researching to find what specific things trigger negative body image and low self-esteem. As often as they are researching what causes it, they are also researching what can be done to help people who have already been affected to get over this. There are many more things to be discovered about negative body image and its causes.

In the future I plan on arguing that women are more effected with body image and self-esteem problems than men. Everyone needs to be informed about the causes of negative body images and also how to recover from negative body images and self-esteem, but I want to look at the research on who is affected more and I believe it is young women.

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