Reviving Body Image: Part 8

September 2, 2011 in body image

To view the intro of these series of blogs, start here.

When we revive our true selves we revive our curiosity, our fearlessness, passions, greatness, and real beauty. When girls reach the stage of adolescents, a lot starts happening. We experience a major conflict between our independent selves and a false self starts trying to pry its way inside of us through social experiences, the media, and our peers. We stop thinking “who am I?” and start thinking “how can I please others?” We take on a new personality that simply is a reflection of what we think we should be.

We have to recognize the changes in our bodies that happen in adolescents cause a lot of this. We undergo extensive body, hormonal, and mental changes. Calmness is transformed into anxiety. Our attitude and thoughts change dramatically. It’s almost as if we are being totally re-wired, but especially when we allow media to change us into our false selves.

If we stay connected with our true self, adolescents would be much less bumpy. We want to feel independence from our parents and it’s also labeled “not cool” to stay attached, but during this time we desperately need a supportive structure when is so much change is occurring.

In pop culture, all forms of media and our peers puts enormous pressure on girls to split from who they truly are. Self esteem stems from whether you accept your own personal feelings or not, so when you suppress these thoughts and feelings you are taking on a whole persona that is very foreign to you. Therefore you become lost in a maze of who you are, and it results in tremendous confusion that could’ve have been avoided by simply accepting and more importantly loving the person you are.

To be accepted socially, girls often abandon any masculinity and try to become the impossibly flawless women that we see in the media. A therapist named Mary Pipher with a Ph.D in psychology reported that her teenage psychotherapy clients recall making a conscious decision to bury their true self in order to please others. They chose to be quiet in class rather than speak up, to not eat the foods they wanted to be thin, to be polite and not honest, and to be pretty rather than to have fun.

The role women play on television and other forms of media suggest that men are more important. They are usually quite thin and have racy clothing, and often portrayed with a lacking intelligence. They are not valued for talents or their personality.

Studies showed that in public schooling boys are called upon more and characters in the material read are more likely male. Teachers overall send the message to girls more frequently that they couldn’t complete a difficult task, while the message to boys is you can do it if you try. Fortunately in the recent years the degree of favoring boys and men has let up a great deal, but still girls often leave adolescents not believing they are capable of accomplishing their dreams because of these tendencies.

Continue to part 9…