Body image

Body image problems are often perpetuated by things that many of us never consider to be unhealthy: a constant barrage of adverts featuring models who are not representative of average, healthy individuals, ubiquitous marketing of products which are meant to address invented “shortcomings” and “imperfections”, a society which disparages diversity in shape/size/looks and is disproportionately focussed on appearance.

What can I do to reduce this impact?

Simple things can be done to help individuals have healthier relationships with their bodies. This includes:

  • Reminding friends that they are beautiful
  • Asserting that disparaging comments (often coming from loved ones, such as family or partners) about appearance are unacceptable
  • Living a healthy lifestyle (being active and eating enough and healthily)
  • Speaking out against negative/unreal representations of individuals in the media

Encouraging individuals to have healthy relationships with their bodies can only ever go part of the way in redressing the body–negativity endemic in, and perpetuated by, our society.

Eating disorders and body image

Eating disorders stem from many sources; for some individuals, body image is a major factor. For others, eating disorders have less to do with body image, and come from feelings of stress or lack of control. A common myth is that eating disorders are about superficial concerns with appearance. This is not the case. Eating disorders are a serious mental illness with many causes and a difficult recovery process. For more information, visit the JCR Eating Disorders information page.