Body Image | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 17, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 17, 2017

Candid conversations

Body Image

We live in a society where advertising companies tell us that what we currently have either isn't good enough, or just shouldn't exist in the first place. There are industries that thrive off the insecurities that they breed, while we're left with low self-esteem. We're shown flawless slim models on television and in print, and when we look at ourselves in the mirror we wonder why our pores are so visible, why we have stretch marks, why our hair isn't as long and silky. 

Young people especially are easily susceptible to media influence – studies have shown that a large percentage of young girls are influenced by magazine images to lose weight, even though most of them are of a healthy weight. And we have to admit, we put a lot of pressure on girls to be physically attractive. 

It's only recently that the concept of 'real' women has entered mainstream media. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes but despite this, we're regularly exposed to a limited selection. Of course the uncomfortable truth is that sex sells, therefore unnecessary pairings like beautiful women and furniture end up going hand in hand. The same goes for men too; no matter what the product is, more often than not it will be advertised by conventionally attractive male models. It teaches our sons that they have to look a certain way to appear masculine and that they are barely men unless they have defined muscles.  

These industries also benefit from teaching us that the natural things we are born with are undesirable. Things like acne and body hair are prime examples. Somewhere along the line, we were told that we had to shave our legs, for no real purpose other than to fit in with the norm dictated by the media. Today we spend a considerable amount of money on a monthly basis on procedures to remove something that is perfectly natural, and in most cases, hidden under clothing. Similar to how we rarely see any body hair on models and celebrities, we also don't see acne, yet almost 8 out of 10 teens will experience it as they go through puberty. As common as it is in teens and adults, acne has negative connotations in popular media; it's associated with unattractiveness and bad hygiene despite having nothing to do with either. 

More companies need to use 'real' men and women in their advertisements. They're the people we can relate to, and being able to relate is what draws us to the brand and makes them a success. Win-win, right?

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