Looks, weight and wardrobe, oh my: How the media has shaped my self-esteem

Do you ever feel insecure? Do you ever compare yourself to someone you see online?

Emmie Foster
7th November 2022
Image Credits: Flickr
I love many features of the media: lots of free entertainment, reality TV and certain aspect of social media. However, I’m not the first to say that the media has made me insecure. From a young age, we see all these beautiful stick-thin models with perfect skin, luscious hair and not a pore in sight. At that age, nobody tells you that 99% of it is heavily edited and fake. It’s only over the last few years that I’ve truly seen how artificial and deceptive the media can be. 

I first downloaded social media at age ten, I was incredibly jealous of my brother having it and didn’t want to miss out. Little did I know, missing out was probably for the best. I’d see all the influencers look completely airbrushed and that became my ideal, the standard I expected myself to live up to. You feel an immense pressure to look a certain way but as a woman and through my own personal experience, it is incredibly damaging. 

To stand there in the mirror picking apart all of the worst things about yourself, feeling trapped as you cannot control how you look. I would always question, why don’t I look like that? Over time you can learn to accept the way you look and appreciate it, but for me, my body image and weight have been impacted the most. Many people chose to lose weight in lockdown as they had more time for it and wanted to be healthier, I was one of them. I quickly learnt that I didn’t enjoy exercise and decided to change my diet and become vegetarian, which I have now been for a year and a half. 

Although I feel healthier, I’ll admit the way I view my body has changed a lot. I’ve not maintained the same weight consistently and when I managed to lose the weight I was aiming for, I was very aware of when I may have gained more or lost some. I’d like to say that I think differently now, but that’d be a lie. I believe we all have insecurities, due to the media it's inherent. We feed on what we see as a drug and the consequences we face are comparison and low self-esteem. 

We feed on what we see as a drug and the consequences we face are comparison and low self-esteem

The way I feel about my body is also intertwined with my wardrobe and sense of fashion. Now I’m at uni I could not care less about what I’m wearing (I have my loosecrawl t-shirt on as I’m typing this). However, on nights out or when I feel the need to look presentable, like everyone else, I overthink. Does this make me look fat? Am I trying too hard? Sadly, the answers change depending on how I’m feeling about myself that day. 

I’d like to believe that anyone reading this can find it relatable, we all have little voices in our heads that completely rip into us. The media started these insecurities and made them a recurring message. Stop with the editing and let’s #BeReal. Realistically we are one out of billions of people in the world, attractiveness and a perfect body are so minuscule in comparison.

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