Advertising has a powerful effect on how we see ourselves and how we think we should look. Women’s magazines in particular have a tremendous influence on body image, with researchers reporting that teenage girls rely heavily on them for information on fitness, beauty and fashion, valuing their advice nearly as highly as that of their peers. Recently, ASOS, a UK company has been praised for choosing not to photoshop stretch marks and acne scars from their models.
Traditionally we see advertisers portraying models as near perfect beings, with beautiful and often unattainable physiques. This approach heavily contributes to a negative body image. In the My Study Series Fitness industry and body image video as part of AS 2.5 we discuss a simple triangle to link three facets of body image.
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The first is your internal beliefs. This is what you believe about your own appearance, Things like your memories, assumptions, and generalisations that you make on a regular basis, these all add to your internal belief system.
The next is how you feel, particularly in relation to your own body. How does your current height, shape and weight impact the way you feel about yourself.
And finally your internal control. How you sense and control your body as you move. How you feel in your body, not just about your body.
Each of these facets contribute to provide you with either a negative or positive body image. If more companies take a similar approach to advertising that ASOS have here, we are likely to see a positive impact on our internal beliefs, or what we believe about our own appearance. If our internal belief is bellied by positivity and self confidence we can continue to improve and develop our body image and be more accepting of ourselves and others.