Dying for perfection

Living in such an image-obsessed society, it can be hard to feel great about yourself. All over magazines, in fact the whole of the Internet, we see images of perfect bodies that seem impossible to obtain.

Nine times out of ten, this leads to distaste with our bodies and could eventually lead to unhealthy behaviour in obtaining that ‘perfect body’. On top of that, the popularity with social media has now become the public eye for constant celebrity photos and gossip.

With reality star Kim Kardashian becoming the Instagram queen and her little sister Kylie Jenner right behind her, changing the perspectives of what is supposedly sexy is the cause of a rising trend in the request for buttock enhancements.

The lyrics in pop music, also portray an image of what girls ‘should’ look like.

In All About That Bass, Meghan Tranior brings more to her song than ‘that bass’ with her lyrics: “I’m bringing booty back, go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that.”

The media are constantly slating and comparing celebrity bodies and telling us what we should look like and what we need to do to achieve that. From dieting tips, to special workouts, everybody has gone crazy obsessing with being perfect.

Augmentation

The extremes people have gone to include cosmetic surgery, waist training and extreme dieting to name a few.

Cosmetic procedures aren’t cheap, according to The Private Clinic of Harley Street, the average cost of buttock argumentation starts at £6,500, for a tummy tuck £5,850 and for breasts £5,200, often much more.

Women aren’t the only ones looking for the perfect body, men are just as obsessed – according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, “body contouring procedures showed the biggest increase among males, with liposuction up by 28 per cent and gynaecomastia (or ‘man boobs’)  up by a quarter (24 per cent)”.

Because of the high prices, Brits head to other countries which offer lower prices but unfortunately, it doesn’t always mean the quality of the care is the same. There have been several cases of poor surgery, and some have proved fatal.

In August 2015, property manager Heidi, from Enfield, flew off to Prague and underwent a cut-price £2,000 bum job to lift, tighten and plump her baggy backside.

Instead of the perky bum she hoped for she was left with a bum looking more like it had “two enormous scars right across my buttocks – as if a shark had come and taken a massive bite, as she described it in The Daily Mirror.

Improve

Personal trainer, Marcus Jeremiah, 23, from Kent has worked will a fair share of male and females bodies for over five years and talks about his experiences.

He described that he thinks both male and females suffer from body issues but it is more evident in females as males tend to hide it better and are usually more active in trying to improve.

When asked if he ever suffered from any body issues, he openly expressed that he did suffer from Body Dysmorphic disorder but didn’t think it was a really serious issue at the time, as he never thought it made him incapable of normal life.

His experience was just never feeling he had done enough to achieve the body he wanted or thought that he was too small. He did however mention that he knew of other people who had suffered really badly and would go to the extremes.

Marcus also mentioned that he thinks its quite normal in this day and age to suffer from body issues as many people set crazy targets to achieve in such a short period of time and often don’t and get depressed.

“I see people constantly criticising and putting themselves down, believing everyone looks better than them even though they may not,” he told us.

Muscle

On a lighter note, when asked about about surgery and the media, Marcus believes most things are achievable without surgery: “losing weight etc can all be done with exercise and a balanced diet but it takes time and most people are not willing to put the time in, and I don’t think we should blame the media completely, i just think thats an easy cop out.”

When asked what the perfect body is, everyones’ answer would be different.

What one person would deem perfect, someone else would not necessarily agree. Some would say being tall, or having abdominal muscle, for others it could be no body fat.

Artefact went to Central St Martins Campus in Kings Cross, to ask some students, what their idea of the perfect body is and if they could change one thing about themselves, what would it be?

Having positive body image is important, a bad attitude towards your body, to how you see yourself and look, can have a major effect on you and others around you.

Poor self esteem issues, depression and eating disorders is exactly what, Shakira Williams from London, went through since the age of 13: “From as young as I can remember, I had a poor body image, I hated the way I looked and would avoid looking in mirrors as much as I could.”

She describes her embarrassment as a thirteen year old having to wear clothes in size 18, “I just thought how I can I be wearing clothes that are for adults”.

She thinks she suffered from poor body imagine because there was always a lot of unhealthy food in her house and her mum never really encourage her to eat healthy. It was ultimately the bad eating habits that contributed to her weight gain.

Comments

However, it also didn’t help that kids at school would make horrible comments about her size which also led to her comfort eat.

As she got older, Shakira decided enough was enough and decided to do extreme dieting in order to lose weight which included eating less then the daily recommend calorie intake for women.

She would would pretend she was never hungry just so she could have the satisfaction of not having to finish the food on her plate.

Now 21, Shakira is a little ‘more comfortable’ with her body and has way more confidence than she had done in the past. But is still not at the size she’s wishes to be at, but would not take drastic measures again to reach that goal.

When asked to describe what the perfect body is to her now she went on to say “For me the perfect body is one which you, yourself is comfortable in.

Although, for me to have the perfect body I would have to be toned all over and have no excess fat.

“Things in life happen that could cause you to change (your body) but it doesn’t define who you are. As long as you look past the judgmental society we live in and put your mind to wanting to be healthier, everything will slowly but surely be okay. Do not starve yourself or take drastic measures such a diet pills and fad diets, as they are useless and you will only put the weight back on as I learnt the hard way,” Shakira told us.

Experience

To help young people at risk of eating disorders and negative body image we’ve put together five simple tips:

  1. Feed your body well – Its important to eat right and regularly and its okay to indulge once in a while.
  2. Exercise – Whether it be 30 minutes or two hours, exercise is great for both the body and the mind.
  3. Be kind to your body – Sometimes we can be quite hard on ourselves, its important to try love your imperfections and be thankful for your health.
  4. Talking – The simple task of talking to a family member or friend or even a stranger on a help line, can help dealing with body issues.
  5. Positivity – A positive attitude can awaken happiness, motivation and can improve your self-esteem.

Kara, who is 14 and from the US shares her emotional experience suffering with Body Dysmorphic disorder for three years; she first noticed something wasn’t right when she would constantly suffer from extreme anxiety.

Simple tasks such as going out out of her house would cause her distress, “even at family gatherings I would get very anxious at the thought of people judging me and all my insecurities. I think I suffered from BDD because nobody would ever compliment me unless they noticed I was distressed on my appearance, i know it sounds silly but it bothered me”.

Instead, Kara said she would notice negative comments said about her and she become very insecure about it. Kara hopes to get treated for BBD in the coming year and shares that “for people going through what I’m going through, you need to remember that you are not alone. BDD is very frightening and I know how exhausting it is.

“Let me ask you this, would you ever call someone out on their flaws? Would you call them ugly, and would you make fun of their insecurities? Most of you probably answered ‘No’, so if you don’t do that to others then try not to do it to yourself. You may just disregard my words, but I honestly mean every word. I’m slowly starting to follow that advice and I hope you can too.”

 

 


 

Featuered image by Beth Scupham via Flickr CC