Positive-body-image

Selfie Game Strong: Body Image The Biggest Loser

Has our selfie obsession exacerbated women’s body image disorders?

RELATED: Sex Selfies: Has Social Media Gone Too Far?

Millennials, who are said to follow Generation X, aren’t called the “selfie-generation” for nothing. But has all the pouting, posing, sexting and twerking – often in a bikini – helped or hindered our body confidence?
I find it a fascinating topic: call me a dinosaur (I am Gen-X), but I’m always a little dismayed and mystified when I see someone I admire – friends included – constantly posting selfies of themselves in a bikini on Twitter or Instagram, for example.
I love looking at beautiful bodies – who doesn’t? – but is this where we are in 2015 that women have to be seen to be posting near-naked pics of themselves via social media in order to be considered successful or desirable?
Unless you’re body is your business, ala a model, why do women need to do it? Is it the psychological buzz of garnering “likes”? Do people really need ego boosts and validation, mostly from perfect strangers, via social media that badly?

selfies, selfie generation, body image, body image disorders

A 20-something woman I follow on Instagram, who recently launched her own business, recently posted endless pics of herself reclining on a bed, clad only in skimpy lingerie. Erm, why?!
Does popularity via social media mean more to millennials than possessing class, style, grace and good taste?
And how can self-proclaimed positive body image commentators reconcile themselves with the fact that they repeatedly post pictures themselves in little more than a bikini on social media?
Questions, questions…For answers, I consulted Christine Morgan, CEO of the Butterfly Foundation and National Director of The National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC).
Christine says the advent of social media has only worsened our body image issues and insecurities.
“Men and women are impacted by a daily barrage of opinions on how they should look, dress and behave. The introduction of social media has only accelerated and intensified these issues, to the extent that sharing images that objectify your physical shape and size is a normal activity on social media,” she says.
“I worry that users of social media platforms have intensified the importance they place on size and shape and that body image anxiety amongst Gen Y and now our millennial generation is at critical levels.
“For Gen Y and millennials, social media is their world, and can provide an unchecked unfiltered environment for those who are promoting ideal body image.
“Young people are never without a mobile device, and are only ever a minute away from checking multiple platforms to stay in touch with their social circles. Currently, we have a detrimental trend of achieving recognition on social media through ‘likes’, or by using more and more gratuitous images to solicit positive feedback from social groups. This is intensifying the need to connect social popularity with adoration of physical shape and size.”

selfies, selfie generation, body image, body image disorders

And while social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, could have a far-reaching positive impact on positive body image promotion, this far from the case in reality.
Christine says much more work needs to be done to build online communities of support and resilience for people suffering mental health and social issues.  In addition, she says safety practices online are paramount, as is education: teaching teens and young adults that celebrity bodies are “almost unattainable under normal circumstances”.
“Sadly, they [social media platforms] are also used to curate dangerous photos, images and information that can have immediate and devastating impacts on vulnerable people,” she says.
“These images [of celebrities] on social media can be especially dangerous when a vulnerable person uses them as a reference point for their own physical shape and size.
“Selfies can be fun, however they are having an unintended consequence. They have become the lens in which the obsession with ideal body shape and size is now judged. These are infectious by nature, and when used negatively by key influencers can reinforce a person’s negative body image feelings about their own shape, size or appearance.
“These can cause vulnerable individuals with a negative body image to descend even further and lead them to believe that their success or acceptance is dependent on having a particular body shape and size. This type of selfie culture can also increase the fear of being judged by individuals and takes advantage of competitive mentality to drive people to even more destructive behaviours.”

selfies, selfie generation, body image, body image disorders

If you need help and support, phone the Butterfly Foundation National Supportline on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) or visit thebutterflyfoundation.org.au, or email its online support centre via support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au.
Images, in order, via www.linkedin.com; knote.com; thebaccrag.com and blog.childrens.com.

What do you think? Are selfies going too far?

 

 

February 19, 2015

Sultry Striptease Minus The Giggles

Did you know women who can do a strip tease for their partner generally have much better sex? Why is that? Well, it’s all about confidence. When it comes to women and sex, confidence is a major turn-on.

Instead of clothing tips, dancing or music selection, let’s get right down to the things which have prevented you from being confident enough to strip for your partner. The first one will be the hardest and once you’re past it, you’ll be well on your way to tweaking it anyway you like. Do we really need to tell you what to wear and what music to dance to? No, that’s all personal choice.

Below are some tips to overcome some of the most common barriers to the sexual confidence you’re looking for. Remember: All sexual behaviour starts with your brain.

Anxiety

For a lot of women, sexual anxiety is a problem. I’m not talking about being unable to perform any sexual act, but about the ones which require you to go outside your comfort zone. The first thing you need to do is recognize where the anxiety is coming from. It may be about swapping roles from nurturer to sexual being or about your body image. Whatever it is that is holding you back from being a confident sexual being, you need to wrap your head around it. Only then, will you be able to confidently perform that elusive strip tease.

Madonna vs whore

Now, most women have had it drummed into them that they aren’t sexual beings. The ones who are sexually confident are labelled whores. Then there’s the Maddona – pure, holy and non-sexual, the type of women which men want to take home to their family and marry. This is societal teaching. Plain and simple.

In reality, women can and should be both without the labels or feeling bad about their sexuality. Plus, men want their women to be sexual beings, but want it to be exclusively for them to witness and appreciate. It’s enough to screw with any woman’s head!

If your anxiety is coming from this type of mentality, you need to work through it. Exposure therapy is used by psychologists with a host of behavioral changes. Do one small progression forward each time you have a sexual encounter, until you reach the goal of performing a strip tease. Begin with sexual acts which are in your comfort zone. Gradually extend it to acts you find a little less comfortable, until you reach a point where the leap from being totally anxious about a strip tease isn’t so gigantic. The more you practice a particular behavior, the easier it gets.

Body image

Body image can affect a person’s sex life significantly, according to Dr. Stephanie Buehler, psychologist, sex therapist and author of Sex & Passion: The Essential Guide. There’s no single defining reason and usually several factors combine and cause poor body image.

Buehler has some tips to improve body image which include:

  1. Focus on what you like about your body, rather than what you don’t like.
  2. Look at yourself as a whole, rather than individual pieces in a mirror.
  3. Exercise and move your body regularly. Recognise its function rather than focus on its appearance.
  4. Understand media representation of people is generally unrealistic. Take notice of regular peoples different shapes, sizes and appearances.
  5. Replace negative self talk with positive self talk. For example, “I have nice eyes, rather than I have a flabby stomach.”

Improving your body image can be a challenge, but it is achievable. If you don’t feel confident with your body, you really are missing out on an awesome sex life. Is it worth it? Absolutely not. It’s the thoughts that run around in your head that you need to take charge of.

If you need help achieving this, go and see a counselor or sex therapist. They will have plenty of strategies to help you be more confident, explore your sexuality, connect better with your partner and strive for a more fulfilling sex life. What do you have to lose? In this case, nothing but your clothes!

Good luck and happy stripping.

Image via http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/i/keep-calm-and-strip-tease.png

November 12, 2014

How To Get Bikini Confidence This Summer

One of Australia’s hottest in-demand exports, Natasha Oakley (pictured) – the LA-based, Sydney born swimwear model, fashion and lifestyle blogger and entrepreneur – has been announced as the body of Veet’s new Natural Inspirations range.

The rising star, who is fast becoming a global social media phenomenon with more than 657,000 followers on her Instagram alone, is passionate about empowering women to feel great. Her site, http://abikiniaday.com, which she runs alongside her best friend Devin Brugman, tackles the big issues of positive body image and confidence.

Idolised worldwide for her natural beauty and relaxed, beach-chic style, Natasha, 23, counts model, presenter, designer and producer among her many talents and credits. In addition, Natasha and Devin created their own swimwear label, Monday Swimwear – inspired by their constant search for that everyday, stylish yet comfortable ‘go-to bikini’.

With her entrepreneurial spirit and promotion of positive body image, Natasha is striving to be an inspirational role model for young women.

Leading depilatories expert Veet’s new hair removal solutions for all skin types, and for face and body, contain shea butter, aloe vera and grape seed oil for all skin types.  The Natural Inspirations range includes Wax Strips, $12.79; Sugar Wax, $15.49; Face Wax Strips, $11.49; Cream, $9.49; and an In Shower Cream, $15.99.

Here, Natasha talks her fave Veet products and how to get bikini confidence and beach-ready this spring/summer:

What are your Veet must-have products for summer? The new Natural Inspirations Range contains three depilatory creams and three wax products, all of which smell divine. However, I have always only ever been a wax girl so for this summer I highly recommend Veet’s Natural Inspirations Wax Strips (for body or face) and the Natural Inspirations Sugar Wax (both pictured below), or if you are at home with a bit more time for DIY hair removal, I would suggest using Veet’s Electrical Roll-On Kit.

hair removal, waxing, positive body image, spring/summer, bikinihair removal, waxing, positive body image, spring/summer, bikini

What do you love most about Veet? Apart from how well their products work, what I love the most is the convenience of the wax strips while travelling! They are so light and convenient to pack – I just remove from box and place the flat strips in my bag.

How can women best prepare for bikini season?  Working out regularly is important, but I also feel confident in my bikini from little things like manicured nails, waxing with Veet for silky smooth skin at the beach and keeping your skin exfoliated and moisturised. Finding the right bikini is also very important – remember to find the suit that fits your body type best and don’t be afraid to go up or down a size from your regular size, just ensure the bikini is comfortable and not squeezing anywhere so it will be as flattering as possible to show off your naturally beautiful figure.

What body confidence tips do you have for young women? Confidence not only comes from embracing who you are and understanding that everyone is beautiful in their own way, it comes from leading a healthy balance lifestyle. If you are working out, eating correctly and maintaining a positive outlook on life, everything falls into place and with it you will feel more confident within yourself. Also remembering to never compare yourself to others, which can be hard as we all naturally do, is a key to confidence. If everyone was the same, the world would be boring – individuality is a beautiful, natural thing.

What bikinis are best suited to each different body shape? The article on my blog http://abikiniaday.com/what-is-your-body-type-and-which-bikini-should-you-be-wearing/ is a must-read for all women.

What bikini trends are hot for summer? The latest trends I saw recently at Miami Swim Week are neoprene, zips, mesh panelling and also a newer trend, rashies!

Can every woman wear a bikini?  Yes! It’s about knowing you body type, what suits and fits you best and rocking your bikini bod with confidence!

Visit www.veet.com.au.

hair removal, waxing, positive body image, spring/summer, bikini

September 6, 2014

How To Develop A Better Body Image

There’s not a woman alive who doesn’t experience a love-hate relationship with her body at times, even if it’s merely fleeting. We all have “fat days” – when how we perceive our bodies doesn’t often equal the image in the mirror. “Wow, you look great!” a loved one might say. “Ugh, really?” you respond, grimacing at yourself in the mirror. “If only I was thinner, bustier and less curvy…” and so the list continues.

And in this pursuit of self-improvement and unattainable perfection, in 2012, Australian women are said to have spent $850 million on modifying their looks and bodies. Australia’s leading organisation for eating disorders and body image, the Butterfly Foundation, says poor body image is significantly linked to dieting. In addition, dieting is the major factor in the development of disordered eating, eating disorders and a significant contributing factor in the development of obesity.

Butterfly Foundation CEO Christine Morgan stressed the critical importance of prevention and early intervention strategies in limiting the development of, and suffering from, negative body image and eating disorders. “Body image is not what we look like – it is how we feel about how we look,” Ms Morgan says. “Someone with positive body image is comfortable in their own skin. Conversely, someone with negative body image is often dissatisfied and fixated on trying to change their actual body shape.

“Unfortunately, in many instances negative body image descends even further and the person suffering from it believes they will not be successful or worthwhile, so long as they have that body shape and size. Pretty heavy stuff for most people; almost unmanageable if those thoughts are striking in the teen or primary school years.”

So, how do we teach our sons and daughters to have a positive body image? How do we, as mothers, curb our own issues so as to help our kids? “There are a number of pressures within our society that can contribute to negative body image and parents need to be mindful of everyday talk at home about food, body shape and self-esteem,” Ms Morgan says. “Children tend to learn more from what parents do than what they say.

“Adulation of physical appearance is a recipe for disaster. When parents talk about their own body images, they are fostering the same beliefs with their children. The strongest and most effective way parents can deliver a balanced and positive message around body image is by role modelling healthy behaviours.’’

Here are some tips on how to be a good body image role model for you and your child:

Love and accept your own body: Being aware of your attitude towards your own body will help you be conscious of the messages you send to your kids. Try to avoid looking in the mirror and making negative comments about the way you look. If your child sees that you feel comfortable and happy with your body, this can help them feel comfortable in their own skin.

Don’t talk about diets: Dieting is the biggest risk factor for an eating disorder. Try to avoid talking about diets, your “naughty” eating habits, or your weight and size. This can give kids the impression that weight and size are highly valued by you and they might feel pressure to look a certain way or be a certain size. Celebrate diversity and emphasise how loved and valued your child is no matter what their weight, shape or size.

Talk to your child: Encourage your child to talk with you about their feelings regarding their bodies. If your child feels safe talking to you, then they are more likely to share feelings about their bodies with you.

Visit thebutterflyfoundation.org.au.

By Nicole Carrington-Sima

June 24, 2014