Body Shaming in the media

(25 Posts)
alexj86 Thu 20-Oct-16 23:51:22

We've all seen it - tabloids, online magazines etc telling us that there is a perfect body type, photographing celebrities and totally shaming aspect of their bodies. Is it a problem in your opinion? How much of an effect do you think this has on society? ..On the self esteem of women? Do you think it is only limited to shaming of women or is it happening to men too?

I personally think it is a huge problem and has created a shallower society where we are all now valued far more for what we look like than what we do/who we are as people. I suppose that social media hasn't helped. I think that eating disorders and other body image type problems often start with this shaming in the media.

Is there anything that can be done to start changing the way that the media report like this? Or even to just start highlighting the issue?

VestalVirgin Thu 20-Oct-16 23:59:27

Of course it is happening more to women. Women were the ones who died of lead poisoning during the Victorian age, because the white makeup contained lead ... and according to something I watched recently, people even KNEW this.

So I don't think people are shallower nowadays. There's just more ways to show this shallowness.

To change this? Don't consume/pay for media that report that way, if you can at all avoid it. I only see this shit on gmx, and I don't pay for that.
If you happen to pay for something that does, complain once, boycott after.

Just refuse participation.

Body shaming is one of the forms of misogyny that are mostly done by women to other women. Refusal to participate can change a lot there.

The magazines hope you will be full of schadenfreude that the celebrities are "ugly, too". Just don't give them the attention.

AyeAmarok Fri 21-Oct-16 00:02:15

Do you mean like how the Daily Mail insist on pretending to be nice to celebs who are slightly overweight or have put on weight by saying

"So-and-so displays her curves in a pair of denim shorts while on holiday with her new boyfriend".

And then the photos with the article are ALL taken purposefully from the least flattering angle, showing cellulite etc. When you just know there were hundreds of better photos they could have used, they just wants to make the article all about someone being slightly heavier, but not just say that and pretend it's about something else.

Cowardly disks, basically. I hate how they do that.

WindInThePussyWillows Fri 21-Oct-16 00:07:00

I've never seen or felt a direct causation from body shaming or general body image in the media to my own life/body until recently.

After carrying twins to term and having an emergency c section my stomach is drastically different from what it was pre babies. I had embraced and accepted this huge change in shape, colour and scaring but seeing images of Abbey Clancy and such in a bikini a week after giving birth has crushed my self esteem.
Whilst I applaud these women for their dedication and healthy lifestyle, it is not realistic. Which the media is praising them, they are inadvertently body shaming me and other 'regular' new mums. Where are the articles showcasing brave women embracing their new mum tums?

alexj86 Fri 21-Oct-16 00:11:57

AyeAmarok - Yes, when I created this thread I specifically had the daily mail in mind. The bullying and nastiness by their reporters, is in my opinion, creates a real problem with society. I mean...isn't it like the most read online 'news' publication in the world now? I honestly think that when people see obvious bullying in the media, it must trickle down into society and create a less intolerant and more shallow world.. I can't believe that there isn't more scrutiny on our media from this perspective. Like independent bodies who look out for this stuff and penalise publications which obviously do it as a way of protecting people.

VestalVirgin - Good point on not consuming it, but unfortunately that doesn't stop everyone else around us consuming it. I do have to say though, from my time browsing the mailonline website that it does happen to men too. I know some people here might have the attitude of 'oh well about time', but surely it's not right to be against it with women but for it happening to men... I believe that mental illnesses relating to body image are rife in young men too these days.

alexj86 Fri 21-Oct-16 00:16:08

WindInThePussyWillows, I think part of the problem is just celebrity culture in general. Like, why on earth does anybody care or want to see AbbyClancey's newly post birth body anyway? I wish there was a similar publication which mocked media for such nonsense. Also, I think they do probably do articles on other women who aren't in such apparently amazing shape, but as AyeAmarok said it is probably done in a really patronising/pretending to be nice way.

VestalVirgin Fri 21-Oct-16 00:39:17

I wish there was a similar publication which mocked media for such nonsense.

Starting one such publication might indeed be a good way to combat it.

On the other hand, I really think that just drawing attention away from it would be best. You cannot force other people not to read it, but you can help magazines that don't do it by spending money on them.

The problem with mocking it is that you may have to re-post the pictures, and this shit works on the subconscious mind.

Just starting a body positivity thing without even commenting the shit that's going on elsewhere would perhaps help more?

WindInThePussyWillows Fri 21-Oct-16 00:44:38

Exactly - I'm in no way bashing her, good on her she looks great, but why is it news?
This was 12 weeks post baby.

Makes me feel awful.

AyeAmarok Fri 21-Oct-16 00:49:09

Flipping heck, how is that even possible!

alexj86 Fri 21-Oct-16 00:58:55

VestalVirgin - I've seriously considered starting a website similar to that...making a point of journos who body shame as I feel strongly about it and don't think some of these people should be able to get away with it. But you're right - it could also possibly just draw more attention to the articles so would have to be done in the right way.

Windinthepussywillows, She is naturally very tall and slim. She has the sort of body that just doesn't put on weight easily. Having said that, I'm sure that she also worked out throughout her pregnancy and straight afterwards because of the importance of her image. So what really if she looks like that. 99% of women won't after having a kid (or even before it).

On a side note, there are some great TED talks on body image. I vaguely remember one that may have been titled 'you are not your body' a while back. Although this may have been more related to a woman coping with a life changing injury, but it still focused on how what we do/how we think is what really matters.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 21-Oct-16 03:29:07

*Exactly - I'm in no way bashing her, good on her she looks great, but why is it news?
This was 12 weeks post baby*

Makes me feel awful

Why should this make you feel awful? I really don't understand this. I've no idea who she is but she is very beautiful and as such would not have been just your average woman in the street even before she had a baby.

I really don't understand this attitude- not just the poster Ì have quoted, but the "oh it's awful, all these images of impossibly thin/ beautiful women, I can't compete"

Of course the vast majority of us can't compete- just look around you at all the "real women "(hate that expression, we are all "real" but fits the purpose now) - why compare your selves to an almost impossible ideal as opposed to the rest of women kind?

WindInThePussyWillows Fri 21-Oct-16 07:58:15

Lass as the first of my friends to have a baby, pictures like this in the media were the only comparison I really had to what to expect after having a baby. It altered my expectations of bouncing straight back after children. Obviously not to look like her, as I never looked like that to start with, as I said good on her, but relatively speaking I'm no where near being back to my old body after my twin pregnancy. That expectation (which is unrealistic and one which is often portrayed in the media) had me aiming way too high and as such, I was left disappointed.

I'm not saying I'm right or wrong, but that's the way I feel and felt having seen such images.

Felascloak Fri 21-Oct-16 08:02:16

Yeah and the bloody reporting about how they put on 3 stone in pregnancy and she'd it in 6 weeks through exercise and healthy eating.
Well no, you shed most of it by giving birth and getting shot of the placenta and extra blood created to support the pregnancy.
FUCK OFF
bloody closer is the worst with it complete and utter obsession with diets and dieting. I don't read any of it any more. It's totally aggravating.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 21-Oct-16 08:34:37

Lass as the first of my friends to have a baby, pictures like this in the media were the only comparison I really had to what to expect after having a baby

Would it not have been more realistic to speak to a female relative, midwife, other mothers?

WindInThePussyWillows Fri 21-Oct-16 08:39:18

Yes and hindsight is a wonderful thing, but regardless of what people say some people cannot help but feel images such as the one above put pressure on girls and women. My midwife had not dealt with a multiple pregnancy before and none of my friends or family had either - similar images of SJP and JLO who have had multiples may be more relevant if you are looking to poke holes.
I clearly said I'm not right or wrong - that those are my feelings which I'd appreciate you not trying to invalidate.

People view images and representations very differently, the OP asked our experiences, feelings and thoughts. I have shared mine.

alexj86 Sat 22-Oct-16 20:19:35

LassWiTheDelicateAir, that might be the sensible and logical thing but the fact is that almost all of us are influenced by the media, even subconsciously. When the media post about someones amazing bikini body even when as a person they have achieved other things then they are praising it and insinuating that it is only the superficial which matters. What is worse is when the media explicitly body shames. That can leave readers feeling genuinely ashamed of themselves which in my opinion is not ok.

alexj86 Sat 22-Oct-16 20:20:04

LassWiTheDelicateAir, that might be the sensible and logical thing but the fact is that almost all of us are influenced by the media, even subconsciously. When the media post about someones amazing bikini body even when as a person they have achieved other things then they are praising it and insinuating that it is only the superficial which matters. What is worse is when the media explicitly body shames. That can leave readers feeling genuinely ashamed of themselves which in my opinion is not ok.

alexj86 Sat 22-Oct-16 20:20:07

LassWiTheDelicateAir, that might be the sensible and logical thing but the fact is that almost all of us are influenced by the media, even subconsciously. When the media post about someones amazing bikini body even when as a person they have achieved other things then they are praising it and insinuating that it is only the superficial which matters. What is worse is when the media explicitly body shames. That can leave readers feeling genuinely ashamed of themselves which in my opinion is not ok.

alexj86 Sat 22-Oct-16 20:20:09

LassWiTheDelicateAir, that might be the sensible and logical thing but the fact is that almost all of us are influenced by the media, even subconsciously. When the media post about someones amazing bikini body even when as a person they have achieved other things then they are praising it and insinuating that it is only the superficial which matters. What is worse is when the media explicitly body shames. That can leave readers feeling genuinely ashamed of themselves which in my opinion is not ok.

alexj86 Sat 22-Oct-16 20:20:09

LassWiTheDelicateAir, that might be the sensible and logical thing but the fact is that almost all of us are influenced by the media, even subconsciously. When the media post about someones amazing bikini body even when as a person they have achieved other things then they are praising it and insinuating that it is only the superficial which matters. What is worse is when the media explicitly body shames. That can leave readers feeling genuinely ashamed of themselves which in my opinion is not ok.

alexj86 Sat 22-Oct-16 20:21:04

Oops - sorry for the multiple posts - my browser said they weren't posting. Can a mod please delete the duplicates?

Ohyesiam Sat 22-Oct-16 20:36:37

Lass, I don't know why people compare themselves to media/advert images either, but the fact is we do. A huge tranch of consumerism works on adverts that say, implicitly or explicitly, ' this is what you are aiming for, how you are isn't quite right, buy this product and be closer to the ideal'.
It Is something people are just prone to for a huge variety of reasons.
If you are above it, you are very lucky , it causes a lot of suffering.

alexj86 Sat 22-Oct-16 20:57:02

OhyesIam, exactly. I don't think people are quite aware of just how much suffering the media can cause the average person. People have quite literally lost their lives as a result of illnesses which begun when they were told by the media that they were not good enough.

Lessthanaballpark Sat 22-Oct-16 21:03:15

"People have quite literally lost their lives as a result of illnesses which begun when they were told by the media that they were not good enough."

And extreme cases apart it's the kind of low level depression that comes from constantly feeling not up to scratch.

alexj86 Sat 22-Oct-16 21:17:08

"And extreme cases apart it's the kind of low level depression that comes from constantly feeling not up to scratch."

- Yep, quality of life in general an be diminished because of it. That everyday feeling of shame that you don't quite match up. Today's media creates a more shallow society and it is often based on standards which for most people just aren't even natural or achievable.

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