Picture Perfect: Does the Media Impact How We View Ourselves?

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Source: Maggie Reid

Maggie Reid,Features Editor

In today’s age, there seems to be a constant need to look perfect. Magazines and social media all seem to have a type that is usually an unattainable and unrealistic standard.

Despite this, the need to look the part can have a negative impact on the way students view themselves when they look in the mirror.

Staying body positive has a lot to do with your internal dialogue, and what you tell yourself each day, according to Brittany Higgins, a counselor at the Utica College counseling center.

“We are bombarded with unrealistic images, especially with social media being so present,” said Higgins. “The majority of what we see is through a filter, it is important to remind yourself that a lot of what you are seeing isn’t real.”

Senior, India Jackson believes that women portrayed by the media on front covers doesn’t look like the average woman, and when they do, there are changes made with photoshop.

“Even when they put a normal or plus sized woman on the cover, they make changes to the image. They photoshop them,” said Jackson. “Now, more women are speaking up to have unphotoshopped images, which is cool. By having photoshopped images on the cover, they are saying that you need to look like this, you need to not have any imperfections.”

Fifth year student Krismairy Sanchez believes that we are beginning to get more open minded about how we view curvy and plus sized women on social media and on magazines, but only to an extent.

“It’s not yet to the point where it’s comfortable enough for me to dress how I want, or express myself how I would want to,” Sanchez said. “Sometimes, you look at pictures on social media, and just wish you had a flat stomach.”

Having a positive internal dialogue about yourself has a lot to do with having positive outside influences. Having friends who constantly talk about their weight or diet can start to make you question if you are doing the right thing, and can lead to more of a negative internal dialogue rather than a positive one, according to Higgins.

“If you have a friend who is supportive of you and accepting of you the way you are, it makes you feel good and think good about yourself,” Higgins said. “It is someone on the outside of yourself giving you positive feedback and support, you then internalize that positive feedback and support. It is important to surround yourself with accepting friends and influences.”

When it comes to having a positive internal dialogue, Sanchez uses herself as a positive influence.

“Recently, I’ve been trying to dress how I want to dress,”  Sanchez said. “I make sure to remind myself that there are plus sized girls and models who make it in the world. I just remind myself to love myself because I’m the only person who is going to motivate me the way I want to be motivated.”

There are many influences that can make you feel negative towards your body and how you view yourself, so it is important to remain aware of them.

“It is important to be aware when looking at instagram posts of celebrities and friends,” Higgins said. “It is important to know not everyone posts bad pics of themselves, they don’t show bad days. While social media is a good way to connect, when taken in wrong context can be a negative thing.”

According to Jackson, social media is a place where you can be vulnerable.

“You are posting your own stuff, you don’t know who is going to see it, or if you get comments,”  Jackson said. “I’ve never had a negative impact from social media or the media, but for some people, it can be very public.”

 

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