It is not a surprise to most people that health studies point to our beloved culture as a perpetrator of body appearance which has corresponded to the self-awareness model and well being for women, men AND children. What may surprise you is that this is not a new paradox. Is the rail thin arrival of runway and magazine models a distinct obsession which has started burgeoning girls and women on a path towards starvation, malnutrition and disorders such as anorexia and bulimia? I do not believe this is the case.
The western world created a celebrated culture of 'you can never be to thin' as early as the 1920's when "flapper" styles caused women to starve and over exercise their bodies to attain the flat chested, androgynous look that was beloved at that time. The fuller figure did make a comeback during the Depression, but quickly reverted in the 1960's with thinness being equated with natural beauty.
Studies on self awareness and appearance indicate that women tend to recognize themselves heavier than they really are. This distorted body appearance is linked to unhealthy dietary practices like anorexia and bulimia. Although distorted body equivalent affects men and women of all age ranges, it is middle and upper class women who are most commonly affected in thinking they are too copious and need to lose weight. Sadly, girls as young as nine are following the paths set down by mothers, sisters and others. On the other hand, men with body appearance problems often feel they are too thin and use of steroids by youths trying to build muscle mass shows that they are also adversely affected by media portrayals of the body.
Bad self image is learned. This can be clearly illustrated by a study conducted by the World Health Organization with Canadian students. The study showed that the reliance of children dropped dramatically through the pre-teen years. The percentage of 11 year old boys and girls who felt confident all of the time was 47% and 35% respectively. By age 15 the percentage dropped to 30% for boys and a disappointing 14% for girls.
What are we teaching our children?
In a quote from Health Canada based on a research program for VITALITY the following report was made: "Slimness in western cultures is associated not only with big hit and sophistication, but with character virtues. Conversely, obesity is the opposite of all these things and, particularly in the case of women, is associated with failure and a collapse of self-discipline." Self awareness is tied to several points, only one of which is body model. Self appearance is part of self awareness and starts early in childhood, even before speech. As we become adults many tie their self reputation to such components as job triumph, relationships and abilities. Body appearance - if a person has a negative view of themselves physically - can be one of the most dramatic influences.
Health Canada's findings show that although self awareness may be subject to change throughout our life, our "fundamental sense of feeling worthy or unworthy (self-esteem) remains relatively stable". This means that it while children are still unpracticed that the most jolt is made on their future self equivalent. Creating a safeguarded, nurturing and loving environment can be the greatest protection against negative body appearance and low self-esteem.
Hamza is committed to promoting health and wellness. Sign up for the FREE audiobook at: http://hamzashealthy.blogspot.com/
Publish this article: Protecting Our Children's Self Appearance by Avoiding Steroids