Body Confidence

For this project, I have chosen the theme of body image and self confidence, I chose this theme because not only is it something that affects me personally, it is something that the majority of people can also relate to. Having body confidence issues is not something that only affects a certain group of people, it affects every one of every gender, race, age and size.

This subject is something that is very personal to me, as it is an issue that has affected me throughout my late teens. I don’t think that anyone is truly happy with their bodies, theres always something that you would change, even things that you can’t change! For me I have always been self conscious about my height, as a girl, at 6ft, I have always been the tallest of my friends. In middle school this didn’t really affect me, as I was mainly into sport and it was normally an advantage! However now I am older and I go out with my friends, I always feel out of place. I don’t like taking  group photographs as I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. My friends all were their heels and look so glamorous and I just feel enormous next to them. Also because I am so tall I feel like it makes me look larger than I am, Im constantly comparing myself to my petite size 6 friends and making myself feel fat. Another aspect of my life that affects this issue is my part time job. I work as a promotional model and grid girl, this means that I am constantly surrounded by beautiful, thin girls. Usually they are fairly tall so thats a bonus, but I still find myself comparing my body and features to theirs, most of which have had surgery. Cosmetic surgery can have a huge affect on young people, now a days nearly all the celebrities and models have had some kind of cosmetic procedure. We see these images every day and although we know that they have had surgery to look they way they do, we still compare ourselves. Now, more than ever, there is a constant crave to improve the way we look, and people are willing to take extreme measures to do this.

Everybody is aware of the affects that the media and advertising can have on, specifically young, people.Everyday we are bombarded with images of beautiful people, on social media, on the television, on billboards and in shop windows, in newspapers, they are everywhere! There is no escape from it. This constant reminder of what society thinks we should look like can really take its toll if you don’t conform to their beauty standards. Not only are models and supermodels generally one body type, their photographs are also drastically edited before being used for advertising and campaigns. Although this is something that everyone is aware of, it still influences young people. Some images are edited so heavily that the body shape they advertise are impossible to achieve, these kinds of images are the type that can spark eating disorders within people, they become obsessed with achieving the perfect look and forget about their health. Because this is such a talked about issue at the moment, there are many campaigns fighting societies beauty standards and encouraging the message that everyone is beautiful, no matter what shape or size or race or age. The Dove campaign is arguably the most famous positive body image campaign there is at the moment. Doves aim was to boost body confidence in women by using ‘real women’ in their campaign. There models were all different, natural body shapes. They didn’t conform to the standard skinny models you see in the fashion world. Doves aim was to share the message that its ok to be you, you are beautiful and that beauty dissent come in one size. They compared the images from their campaign with and advertisement from lingerie company ‘Victorias Secret’. Victorias Secret use stereotypical, thin models in there advertisement and they comply to the standards of beauty that Dove and other campaigns similar to this are trying to abolish.

Another campaign I found was the ‘Be Real’ Campaign, in partnership with Dove. This campaign calls themselves ‘The Campaign for body confidence’, and this is exactly what their message is. ‘Be Real’s aim is to encourage people to feel confident about their bodies and the way that they look. They have three key aspects in their campaign, education, health and diversity. For the education sector, Be Real have said,”We want to give children and young people a body confident start to life. We’re calling for parents to set a positive example, schools to adopt a whole-school approach and young people to support each other to be body confident.” Although I didn’t feel like I had these pressure when I was in school, now children and young teenagers have more access to the internet and socially media, and its at this age that we are most vulnerable to opinions and influences so I agree with ‘Be Real’ in that it is a height of importance that their message is shared round schools. The ‘Real Health’ section of the campaign says this, “We want healthy living and general wellbeing to be prioritised over just appearance and weight. We’re calling for the healthcare sector and those in the diet, health and fitness industries to promote long-term healthy living and wellbeing ahead of short-term quick fixes. We want individuals to celebrate feeling good and being healthy.” I think that it is key to express the importance of living and healthy and balanced life. There is no quick fix to looking the way you do in your dreams, but they closest you’ll get to being the perfect you can only be achieved by living a healthy active life. Living a healthy life makes you not only look better but feel better too. You have a sense of fulfilment and have more energy. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle not only improves body confidence it improves every aspect of life. A healthy life is a happy life. The last aspect is diversity and the message behind this is very similar to that of the Dove campaign.”We want the media, businesses and advertisers to positively reflect what we really look like. We’re calling for businesses, publishers, editors and advertisers to act responsibly by positively promoting different body shapes and sizes, people with and without disabilities, and all ages, genders and ethnicities. We want the public to choose brands that promote body confidence and challenge those that don’t.”

This is the video explaining ‘Be Real’s campaigning, and explaining just how having low body confidence can affect people.

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