body image

The ‘perfect body’ is an illusion

“Smaller Waist. Bigger smiles.”

More like

“Smaller waist. Bigger profit.”

If you believe everything you see then you would know that being thin equates to happiness. That losing weight will not only make you a happier person but also find the perfect relationship, be more satisfied at work, have better friends, feel healthier and live longer.

Having the perfect body will make you desirable, popular and complete.

We all have an image in our mind that represents the “perfect” body. A woman who is sexy, confident, lean, tanned, perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect butt.

When we pause to reflect we know that this is not a real woman, she is airbrushed, digitally enhanced, spray-tanned and lip lined. We know she has lighting, filters, and a team of professionals to create that moment in time, logically we know.

We know that this image of the perfect women is not a real woman, yet we fall victim to marketing trick over and over.

These women and the images are used to sell perfume, make-up, cars, clothing, magazines, health food, gyms, weight loss products. Because this woman is “aspirational”, we wish to not just look like her but to embody her happy perfect life, even though its a false reality.

The perfect body

In advertising a there is only one body type is represented in imaging, this body is size 0 Caucasian female. This body size does not represent 95% of the population yet it represents 95% of the advertising imagery.

This perfect body is unrealistic and unattainable for the majority of the population and sets up a lifetime of chasing an unattainable ideal, creating a cycle of body dissatisfaction and then throwing money down the toilet on fad diets and weight loss products that just make you poop. Women buy products, join gyms or diet clubs, which are short-term solutions and set a cycle for failure and disappointment. However, when we are constantly exposed to this thin ideal, we soon believe that this is the best type of body and type of body we should be striving towards. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and diversity should be celebrated.

What is body image

Body image is how one perceives their body. Body image is linked to feelings of self-worth, competence and confidence. Our feelings about our appearance are directly correlated with our satisfaction in life and overall happiness.

Social norms

In our aesthetics-focused world weight change will always be celebrated and commented on. This creates an incredibly difficult cycle to break as weight loss = positive feedback, celebration, added attention from admirers, comments about dedication and strength and will power. Thus weight loss becomes tied with self-worth.

Body dissatisfaction

89% of women report they are dissatisfied with their body. 73% of people wish they could change the way they look.

The impact this has one ones psych is that women are opting to cancel plans, job interviews or other important engagements simply because of how they look. They not showing up at work in relationships and life because they believe that their body size makes them unworthy.

How we are sold body dissatisfaction

We are insidiously sold that it is normal to hate your body, and you should want to change it.

Weight loss companies do not want you to succeed they want you to fail and repeat the process over and over. If everyone all at once decided to like their body a little more and not spend money training to change it the global economy would collapse. The diet industry is set to be worth 190 billion US dollars in 2040. The beauty industry is, and the fitness industry

That is what the media is trying to tell us, that our body image is for sale. These advertisements tell us we are inadequate as we are and that we need to buy a product or service to be happy, successful and loved. Companies then use these feelings of inadequacy to turn a profit.

Great strides were made recently when Lizzo made the cover and shortly after Tess Halliday. So whilst marketing is listening to the population, these changes won’t happen overnight.

We have a choice

We have a choice in what messages we listen to and what we let float on by. We have a choice as to what we let into our environment, be it social media, TV or advertising in magazines. We have a choice about the conversations we have with friends and family. We ave a choice about the way we speak to ourselves. We have a choice to buy into this messaging or start to listen to what our body needs and what kind of relationship we want to have with our body.