Our Journey

Alexis Haas-  When first starting this blog, I was somewhat neutral on the subject of mass media affecting body image.  I felt that the topic had been spoken of enough and we did not need to dig any deeper into the subject.  However, focusing on the voice of curvier men and women did bring more of a personal frame of mind into the topic of body image.  Now that I have researched this topic more and have become more familiar with different views and stories, I have come to a new appreciation of the topic.  Before studying this topic, I had never realized the small aspects of media that affect our body images so much.  These subtle, yet powerful, images, statements, and critiques affect individuals in ways that I had never come to realize.  Discrimination, eating disorders, depression, lowered self-esteem; all effects of the pressures that the media has put on all of us.  Through this blog, I have come to the realization that I did not strive to look the way that I wanted to, but how society wanted me to.  I am beautiful.  I refuse to allow the media to define me.  I refuse to believe in what the media sees as beautiful.  People need to start focusing on what they ARE and not what they ARE NOT.

Jeremy Monsanto – “To be quite honest, I originally didn’t care about this issue. It was something that I felt negligible because in my eyes, it was talked about so much. It’s not that I felt this issue was laughable, I simply felt that people already do enough about it. But that was where I was wrong. The truth was, I didn’t fully grasp why it was an issue. It could easily be explained that body image is warped in American society, but it’s another thing to understand why it affects today’s generation. During this journey, I was shocked with the subtleties in the American media that led to such distorted perceptions of body image. Above all, I didn’t realize that many people did in fact experience not only an emotional sense of inequality, but they experienced discrimination. For one, Kate Upton – a woman that many people would agree is very attractive, was actually described as being “too fat” to model for Victoria’s Secret. With this in mind, I see that I may have known that body image is an issue people talk about, but I didn’t know about the experience of the individual. As I dug deeper into the subject, the issue of body image distortion in the media hit close to home when I learned about how childhood icons such as Disney and GI Joe also distort body image.  At that point, I started having revelations. I wanted to be big, strong and muscular not because I felt it was just the way I wanted to look, but because I grew up seeing this as a form of normality in being masculine. At the end of this journey, I realize that the distortion of body image is a hidden problem. People may talk about it, but the problem is so deeply embedded in what our generation holds as cultural icons. And because it is so deeply embedded, we MUST talk about this issue and we MUST bring it up and seek out change.

Shirali Shah – “At the start of this blog, I just picked body image because I knew that it is a really relevant topic to almost every age group, especially college students. I really quickly learned that your view on your body is a lot deeper than just what you see. A lot about the way you feel about your body is what has influenced you. I wouldn’t consider myself fat, however I am not model skinny which bothers me so much. If every toy I played with as a kid and every movie I watched as I grew up did not only show characters with perfect bodies, I don’t think I would be nearly as self-conscious. I’ve learned a better definition of curvy than I started with. I realized that curvy does not mean fat at all. Curvy means those who are “average sized.” Everyone talks about the super skinny having eating disorders and the obese having many physical issues. But no one talks about the middle group that’s just unhappy with their body and is getting made fun of for being in the middle area. I hope that this blog teaches you as much as its taught me about how much the small things really affect you. If only I had seen more “curvy” characters while I was growing up, I wouldn’t have thought that being skinny was the norm.”

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