Today I want to discuss body image, how it impacts our self-esteem and how to manage our relationship with it.
Our world is a very superficial one and unfortunately society deems a specific body and face type as the ideal (and thus the most desirable).
We have adopted the definition of an ideal body from our primate ancestors. Taller men with broader shoulders, wider chests and thicker arms were seen as stronger, therefore more able to raise a family and defend against predators.
Women with wider hip to waist ratios were seen as the ideal bodies as the carriage increased the chances of having a successful pregnancy and giving birth to a child.
Many of these perceptions have been inherited into the modern day and whilst some are outdated, they still play significant roles.
The problem is a lot of these attraction triggers are within us and are subconscious. To a large extent we involuntarily select our partners based on these triggers, even if they’re no longer relevant to the fruitfulness of our future. Yes, if we’re self aware enough, we do have the capacity to challenge these attraction triggers, but for the most part, they’re largely inbuilt and hard to change.
The sad thing is if we are the ‘unlucky’ ones who are not blessed with height, a fair complexion, thin waist or an ample bosom, socially we are at a disadvantage and lose the associated benefits.
There are many invasive surgeries one can do to perfectionise their body to society standards:
- Breast augmentation;
- Leg-lengthening surgery;
- Eyelid surgery;
- Liposuction etc.
Then there are the less invasive activities:
- Exercising; and
There are definitely situations where surgery is valid and justified (celebrities for example require it to stay popular) and women, unfortunately, tend to have higher pressures to fit in with society's beauty standards, more so than men.
But for the average among us, acceptance is the most long term, sustainable and least risky option.