Shifting views on body image

The media’s definition of “beauty” has changed throughout the years, and this can affect an individual’s body image.

Counseling and Psychological Services held a workshop as part of its Food for Thought series called “Beautiful Me: Body Image Concerns” on Wednesday afternoon at the Student Services Center. Students were invited to discuss and get informative details on body image issues and how to overcome them.

A presentation was shown to attendees with key points varying from eating disorders to improving your outlook on your body image. CAPS doctoral psychology intern Katie Croft Caderao talked to students about the social issue and what can be done to have a healthy body and mind.

“It’s a very important topic, and I think it impacts our entire student population,” Croft Caderao said. “The presentation was a way to encourage people to reflect more about how media influences their body image and find some way to improve upon that.”

Since media is the major impact on body image issues, Croft Caderao showed a video in which an average-size model was Photoshopped not only to a skinnier version but into a whole different person. Psychology senior Joann Ramirez said she feels that media are going too far with their definition of beauty.

“The best way to improve your self-esteem is to throw away your fashion magazines,” Ramirez said. “I think the media is giving us, the average American person, the wrong ideal body of both the woman and the man.”

The attendees also discussed the fact that women are not the only gender dealing with their body image. As some women tend to think that being thin is beautiful, some men are insecure about not being muscular and masculine.

Education junior Claude Webb felt that it was great that this topic was covered, since it’s something that’s not spoken a lot.

“It was informative and gave a different light,” Webb said. “Some guys have the same perspective as women do for their definition of beauty. I think with guys, it’s a little different and harder to approach, but I would definitely give them the same information I gained at this workshop.”

After discussing topics that might affect body image, Croft Caderao also gave key points on how to improve your self-esteem. She advised limiting the time spent in front of the mirror, which would help the individual not look at the negative.

Education post-graduate Leone Mack said she finds it difficult to spend less time in front of a mirror, since she works at a hair salon.

“I guess every time I look at myself, I’ll point out something more positive rather than a flaw that I’m looking at,” Mack said. “The presentation showed us more positive body image instead of what is on the magazine. We should just be healthy.”

CAPS will also host the National Eating Disorder Screening Day on Feb. 27 at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. The event will include a screening, food and a drawing. Students can also participate by taking a “selfie” in any restroom tagged with #loveyourbody.

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