At one point or another, we’ve all been exposed to society’s high expectation for our physical appearance. Media dictates to us that in order to fit in society, we must have washboard abs, pecs of steel, thunder thighs and…, well you get the idea. However, this isn’t easily achieved, it takes time and commitment.
A lot of us don’t have that amount of time to dedicate to keeping up our appearances. We have work, school, families to take care, homework and so on. Yet, time after time we are exposed to different types of media that sell us an ideology that says that one’s body image is everything.
Think about the countless commercials you’ve seen your whole life. More often than not, those commercials make it seem that if one has a great body, one is more likely to succeed in life, be more attractive to the opposite sex, have more power, and so forth. There is this huge pressure put on us because of the fact the we’re suppose to look a certain way. I’ve felt that pressure, it was one of the main reasons I started working out.
Growing up, I saw countless movies, TV shows, video games, etc. that all had one thing in common. The protagonist would always be ripped. I used to watch these different types of media and feel ashamed of my body.
At the time, I was an overweight kid and I desperately wanted to achieve the body that was presented to me. This feeling persisted all throughout high school, until my senior year, when I began to workout.
Unlike today, where I workout because I like to, I worked out for the sole purpose of achieving the body image that was presented as deseriable. I wanted to be like the Channing Tatum’s and Ryan Gosling’s of the world. I remember hearing girls talk about how hot they were and how they would marry them. This put further stress on me because I thought, “well who the hell would want to be with a fat guy like me?”
Worse, these pressures are even harder on girls. Media pushes the ideology that women need to constantly look beautiful. Basically they say “If you don’t look like Scarlett Johansson or Jennifer Lawrence, you’re out.” Women are constantly reminded of their body image and pushed more than males to look amazing all the time.
In a study done by the United Kingdom’s National Children’s Bureau, they found there were a high about of males and females that were dissatisfied with their body image. In their countrywide study, they found that 60 percent of adults felt ashamed of how they looked. They felt media had exceedingly high standards of how they were supposed to look.
An outstanding 70 percent of women and 40 percent of men reported that they felt a pressure from TV shows and magazines to have a perfect body. Women are affected more by media’s high standards. The study found that 42 percent of girls and young women felt the worse part about being a female was media’s pressure to look attractive. These numbers are a cause for concern. Making people feel horrible based on their appearance is downright cruel.
Without realizing it, we are brainwashed to care more about our appearance than anything else. We are constantly shown unrealistic images of how we should look like. We are exposed to this so much, that it shakes us to our core. It drives us to do whatever it takes to “look good.” That shouldn’t be the case.
We should workout because we want to, because we like to. We should be happy with the body we have, and if we want to change them, do so because we decide to. Not because some commercial or movie painted this unrealistic picture.