Am i thin enough?

by B.Matthews on February 14, 2017 - 4:30pm

In the CBC article “The worst thing you could do is stare: Raising awareness about vitiligo” the journalist Shari Okeke talks about Aiesha Robinson’s medical condition, known as ‘vitiligo’. Since her diagnosis with this medical condition, Aiesha has begun to accept this condition; she is now a model and runs a non-profit organization to help others and to raise awareness about her condition. Through her years of first discovering her disorder, she became afraid that no one would love her – she confided in her older brother. He suggested that she take all these negative feelings and turn them into something positive, “I was not good enough because I was dark skinned and now I'm not good enough because I have vitiligo, Robinson recalled thinking at the time.” Since her struggle with accepting her body, Shari Okeke has since become a public speaker raising awareness about vitiligo, she has a non-profit organization that not only helped her but will help others going through this life-changing disorder. Being bullied about how to look takes a toll on every girl’s daily life, fitting a specific beauty standard in society doesn't help either. Robinson has recommended talking to your loved ones or someone who you know will help you out with facing these obstacles. Okeke states other models or famous people who have this medical condition, even if they were worried at first; they have learned to overcome their obstacles and to accept themselves for who they are. In fact, during April 2017 an event called “Born to Rise” will be occurring to bring together fellow Montrealers to talk about their personal stories and how they have overcome several obstacles during their lifetime.  

Hearing about the problems of not being accepted for who you are, made me think of an article from Gloucester about the effects social media has on body image. Based on another article I came across on, body image amongst adolescent girls greatly affects the way they perceive themselves. The article, “Bishop Campaigns to highlight issues of body image among children” by Harriet Sherwood outlaws the pressures of social media on adolescent girls. Body image has and will always be affecting people differently. Social media isn't helping either by creating a specific category for people to fit in. Sherwood underlines, Rachel Treweek, the bishop of Gloucester’s perceptive on highlighting the issues regarding social media and adolescents. Multiple studies have been conducted to find the underlying stressors to why social media influences adolescents. Based on the information found, adolescents worry about their bodies based on how celebrities look. These issues affect teenager’s ways of processing how they see themselves. A study shows that more than 34% of girls are affected by negative feelings towards their bodies whereas 20% (steady for multiple years) of boys are negatively affected. Based off a quote from Rachel Treweek, studies show that the negativity from girls will continue to increase based on the high social standards of mass media.

Negative Body image is affected throughout the whole world. On June 23rd, 2016, an article by Vanessa Brown was published discussing significant concerns about body image.  “Women’s body confidence becomes a ‘critical issue’ worldwide, Dove global study indicates” discusses how self-esteem and poise have been becoming a worldwide issue. The article states a variety of issues surrounding the negative issues of body image from around the world. For example, a study in Japan showed that out of all countries, only 8% of people actually like what they look like. The study implies that the constant fixation of representing yourself is having an extensive form on women’s body image. With the low rate of self-confidence women are choosing to be less engaged in their daily life. According to Tessa Black, Brand Manager, Unilever Australia and New Zealand, “With this new research, we hope to inspire women and girls everywhere to develop a positive relationship with the way they look.” Social media plays a big role in this, however, the pressure to fit in the beauty ideals is becoming an added pressure women don’t need to have. With the push to break society’s ideal standards of beauty, mass media has started to identify their advertisements with a diverse range of race and body size.


In brief, I think that body image is a topic that is very important to me because there have been a couple of instances where I myself isn’t happy about the way I look. For instance, I am someone who is greatly affected by how people see me and how I see myself. Trying to fit into the ideal category of "beautiful" is never easy even if we try our hardest to fit into it.  Building support around you can significantly help, talk to your family, your friends and sometimes even a guidance counselor can help. I believe that social media is greatly affecting the way we perceive ourselves and the way people recognize us. I agree that body image affects everyone differently whether it’s based on how skinny you are or how tall you are. Despite having access to many articles, I found it quite difficult to find articles that were recent enough to mention in this post.  I chose these articles because this subject is significant to discuss and that it is something that we need to get past. The next time you look in the mirror, try thinking about something you like about your body!




Thank you for addressing this topic! Many of my own views are reflected in your post. Just like you, I had those instances where I was not satisfied with the way I looked, but ultimately, I learned to accept myself the way I am. There is a point from your post that I would like to focus on.

If this problem was looked upon from a teleological point of view – an ethical framework that distinguishes right from wrong by the outcome of an action or event – it is clear that the constant portrayal of the definition of the better body type is wrong, as it directly affects the increasing number of adolescents, particularly girls, developing low self-esteem (as you pointed out). This argument can be further developed. It is one of the common causes of teen suicides, which clearly is not a good outcome and should be suppressed from a teleological perspective. If the media stopped idealizing body image and started sharing more positive messages about different body types, society would learn to be more accepting. That, in my opinion, largely outweighs the pros of having a pretty and skinny model on some magazine cover, which is mainly just to attract a bigger audience.

People are, however, becoming more and more aware of this problem and I am glad to see an increasing number of pop culture icons spreading encouraging messages about self-esteem. Hopefully this will keep on going and eventually counter and change the way media portrays body image.

I found your article very interesting; hence, our society still seeks to find solutions to help people to cope with the negative effect Medias might have on us. Medias often portrays unrealistic goals that are impossible to achieve. We continue to believe in those unrealistic standards established by Medias, who rarely seek to promote diversity and embrace skin diseases such as vitiligo. People tend to be afraid of what is not regarded as the norm in our society; yet that’s what make us beautiful and different from each other. After all, if everyone would be the same, life would be boring.

Hi. I enjoyed reading your post and I absolutely agree with you on your thoughts on the impact of social media on body image. The objectification of women is a serious issue that needs to be brought to our attention. However, you seem to focus most of your attention on the impact social media has on the ideal body image of women. In my opinion, for this issue to be correctly addressed, both genders should be addressed. Not only women, but men also suffer greatly from the ideal body image made by social media. In the patriarchal world view, the man-box is strongly pressured on all men. This man-box includes factors such as being violent,sexual and muscular. When a man does not fit in this criteria he is policed on his masculinity by other men and and women. The ideal body image of men include things such as perfect teeth, perfect hair, tallness, and big muscles. The social media plays a big role in developing this ideal body image. The male heros in many movies are muscular and very attractive. Even the action figures that young boys play with portray this typical body shapes. Therefore, both men and women suffer from this issue. If you want more information on this view of men and masculinities, you can visit these sites.

About the author

I'm Brianne, this is my final semester at Champlain College and I am currently studying social science: education option. On my past time, I enjoy learning musical instruments, and practicing the ones that I currently study.