The mass media has a significant influence on many people’s body images, including myself, in various phases of a person’s life. The idea of perfect body image communicated and developed in advertisements, product campaigns, and music videos, among others in social media and broadcast platforms, instigates eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa binge eating, and psychiatrist illnesses among people (Warren, Schoen, & Schafer, 2010). This explanation forms the basis of my experience as an adolescent characterized with severe binge eating, purging, extreme self-destructive mechanisms to maintain the ‘perfect’ slim model-like body type to eliminate the bullying and constant prejudice among my peers and schoolmates for being ‘fat.’ For the longer part of my childhood was characterized by unlimited eating because I can describe myself as having a ‘large’ appetite, which made me a ‘fat’ child for the most prolonged period in my childhood. This resulted in being teased, termed obese, round, and ugly. Students in school laughed, mocked, and at times threatened me.
This was the lowest and most challenging point in my life. I reported to the teacher, but nothing changed. When I told my parents, they promised to visit the school and address the issue, which they did; however, the open wound, body dissatisfaction, and low self-love remained. Even though the problem was discussed in school, it became an onset of internal pain, self-hate, and low self-esteem. Without realizing it, I was withdrawn, I did not have friends, and the internet became my comfort source and a platform I could find weight trimming methods, drugs, and procedures to get thin and acquire the slender body described as the perfect and most ideal. In one article, I read that, slim women, the models I could see in songs, videos, and ads were the most preferred, as they were the most beautiful and attractive. Browsing on another page, I saw an advertisement with hurting and body-shaming comments on a poster with a fat woman in lingerie. It was hurtful as I could resonate, and it was then that I realized, indeed I was ugly and unattractive. My mind was fixated on trimming my weight and losing all the extra an attractive body fats and acquire the most attractive and beautiful body.
I began cutting down my food sizes and overall consumption. I had a giant poster printed of the model-perfect body type I dreamed and wished to achieve as results in my room. I could go for three days without eating, which I later realized was extreme dieting harmful to my body. I googled “most extreme weight loss methods,’ and found dieting could help. I decided to begin dieting, which at first lasted for three days. However, after the first three days, I could get famished, which made me more frustrated, as whenever I weighed my weight, I had not even lost two pounds. I yearned for quick results, and when I did not achieve it, I became angry, emotionally unstable, and would give up, and binge eat. Upon realizing my shortcoming, I would hate myself even more and find better and faster ways to seize the pain and facilitate increased weight loss. I remember once I tried purchasing weight loss pills and medication I saw advertised on the internet but sadly did not find my mother’s credit card to purchase. My weight loss journey and process were entirely challenging, self-destructive, but I was fixated on acquiring the perfect body. I needed to prove the world that I could be beautiful and attractive; however, it all resulted in misery, pain, withdrawing from school, losing friends, losing myself, and developing both eating and psychiatrist disorders that required urgent attention. Even after treatment, therapy, family support, I carried the open wound for a while before accepting body, appearance, and self-esteem.
Warren, C. S., Schoen, A., & Schafer, K. (2010). Media internalization and social comparison as predictors of eating pathology among Latino adolescents: The moderating effect of gender and generational status. Sex Roles, 63, 712-724.
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