Media’s Impact on Girls’ Body Image
by Shelley Hitz
There’s emptiness in many girls around this globe, what is the problem? We struggle with insecurity. We are ashamed of how we look. In fact, I have a quiz on my website www.FindYourTrueBeauty.com where over 50% of girls admit that they are ashamed of how they look. Over fifty percent!
Did you know…
The average American woman is 5’4″ tall and weighs 140 pounds, while the average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds. Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women.
80% of women say that the images of women on television and in movies, fashion magazines, and advertising makes them feel insecure.
42% of girls in first through third grades want to be thinner.
81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.
80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance.
The average woman spends 2 1/2 years of her life washing, styling, cutting, coloring, crimping, and straightening her hair at home and in the salon.
So, What’s the Problem?Ultimately, the problem is that we are trying to find our self esteem and worth apart from God. “All things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). That hole inside us is meant to be filled by God and so nothing else will be enough. We will always still feel “hungry” for more.
I tried to get my worth from many other things….my relationships (husband, family, and friends), my work (succeeding at what I do), my looks (clothes, make-up, hair, etc.), attention from guys, shopping, etc. We can try to fill this emptiness and void with anything and everything. Many of those things can become addictions over time. I’ve had a couple of those too.
And that is the enemy’s purpose. He has come to steal kill and destroy us (John 10:10). He wants to plant many weeds in our lives to choke out the life giving, fruit bearing plants.
However, I do believe there are other influences in our culture today that also contribute to this emptiness inside us. And I believe one of the biggest issues impacting us today is the pressure the media places on us to look “picture perfect.”
I think as females, most of us have struggled with various body image lies, including this one: If I can change something about my body, others will finally accept me and I will be able to accept myself.
It is so easy to base our self worth on our looks and appearance because it is the first thing others see in us.
What Would You Change About Your Body?
What if you could change one thing about your body….what would you change?
I know what my answer is without even needing thinking about it. I bet most of you already have your answer too. The thing I’ve struggled with the most regarding my body has been my acne and the scars it has left behind
In high school I had a perfect complexion. I even remember someone commenting that my skin looked like a china doll. Well, that soon ended when I entered college.
I’m not sure exactly what caused it — possibly the combination of bad eating habits and hormones. I thought it would just be a short phase and then be gone. But, here I am, now in my 30’s and still struggling with breakouts of acne.
I’ve tried most everything from Mary Kay to ProActiv to Arbonne to supplements and vitamins to hormone creams, etc. Nothing has worked. Plus, I have the scars that the acne has left behind to look at everyday in the mirror.
So, how did I cope? To compensate for the acne and try to cover it up, I began wearing a lot of makeup.
One day I felt challenged by God to go out to eat with my husband, CJ, without wearing any makeup. I wasn’t sure I understood correctly. Go without any makeup?? Surely not. So I asked God, “Are you sure you want me to do this?”
You see, I was using makeup as a means of self-protection and to feel better about myself. So to go out without any makeup literally felt like I was leaving the house naked!
How embarrassing and devastating!
Well, anyway, I did end up obeying God that night and left without a trace of makeup. After a few minutes, I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I asked my husband if he noticed anything different about my appearance.
He looked at me and hesitantly said, “You’re wearing a new headband?” I then asked him if he noticed anything about my makeup and he said “No, he didn’t.” How ironic. Here I felt “naked” and self conscious and he didn’t even notice!
What I’ve learned from that experiment is that other people don’t notice my imperfections nearly as much as I do. I’m much harder on myself.
What is The Truth?
Body Image Truth:
My value comes from God, my Creator, and not from my appearance and what others think of me.
God is teaching me this truth that my value comes from Him and not my outward appearance. It is okay to desire beauty — it’s a God given desire — but not to base my self esteem on it.