Why Low Body Confidence is Bad for You

Photo from imagefriend.com

Photo from imagefriend.com

Meaghan Ramsey, Global Director of the Dove Self-Esteem Project and an advocate for positive body image, gave a great TEDTalk late last year. In this talk, she explains to the audience something that most of them probably already know: Women and girls have huge self-esteem and body image issues.

Then she goes on to share something that the audience probably didn’t know: that these issues of body confidence have proven to be extremely detrimental for women in academic performance, work performance, and over-all happiness levels.

Watch the video clip below to hear her explanation and research on this issue:

Luckily, Meaghan Ramsey does not leave the audience in despair, but instead sets up a series of issues that need to be approached next to fix this issue. As women, it is important to understand these issues, so we can improve our own lives, and the lives of young women in our lives that we care about. Below I have outlined and explained the six areas that need improvement or work.

1. Family, Friends, and Relationships: There are two parts to this step. First, we need to be good role models for the young girls in our lives. We need to be there for them, but also show them how to treat themselves by the way we treat ourselves. Second, in order to be able to help someone else, it is best to be in a good state ourselves. We need to focus on the relationships we have, surrounding ourselves with positive people.

2. Teasing and Bullying: Everyone encounters negative comments about their appearance at some point, especially since the internet makes anonymous, hateful comments so easy. We can’t make cruel people go away completely, but we can learn and teach girls how to deal with these people.

3. Talking about Appearance: Most women are familiar with “fat talk”, because most of us participate in it with our friends. “Fat talk” is when you complain to your friends about your appearance, one-upping each other with your flaws. This sort of talk helps no one, and is actually very damaging.

4. Media and Celebrity Culture: The media and culture is slowly changing, thanks to different social movements. But as is, the media is still saturated with over-sexualized, photo-shopped images of women. While these images are still floating around, it is important as ever to talk about it. Talk with your daughters, sisters, and friends about these images, and eventually change will come.

5. Competing and Comparing Looks: Women have a tendency to compare their appearances, and this can result in jealousy and unhappiness. It’s important to point out to girls that someone else’s beauty does not take away from hers.

6. Respecting and Looking After Yourself: Accomplishing this is the most important step, because if you have self-respect, you can achieve so much, no matter what your situation is. There’s a quote going around the internet that I love: “When you learn how much you’re worth, you will stop giving people discounts.”

***

Figuring this issue out completely is a life-long process for many of us, but it is so important to try every day.

About the Author: Norah Kearneyunnamed

I am currently a senior at Webster University of St. Louis, Missouri. I’m working on my BA in English with a focus on creative writing. I plan to use my degree for writing, editing, teaching, or a bit of all three.

Read more from and about the author: Norah’s WiLab Profile