23 Comments

  1. Abbey
    June 13, 2012 @ 8:43 am

    Being a sociology student I find the concept of teenage body image affecting later life self-esteem is interesting. Body image is definately an issue in forming and weakening self-esteem, which is why cosmetic surgery is so popular as everyone wants to appear ‘normal’ (a concept not easily defined).
    Personally, even though I may not be entirley happy with the way I look I have no desire to change it, especially through surgery.

    Reply

    • kassandralamb
      June 13, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

      I don’t think anyone, male or female, is completely happy with the way they look, because nobody’s perfect. What I find so sad is when people let their package define their value, especially if their perception of their body is off kilter. I was surprised when I found that quote from Elizabeth Taylor (she’s the lady in the red dress above, btw; that is not a picture of me..I wish!). Then I had a vague memory of hearing her say something to that effect, years ago in a TV documentary, so I know it’s a valid quote. Thanks so much, Abbey, for stoppng by and getting the discussion rolling. Best of luck with your studies!

      Reply

    • alicamckennajohnson
      June 16, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

      Thanks Abbey, it is so interesting how our body image develops. I’m always careful to say that I want to be healthier, stronger, more felxable in front of my daughter.

      Reply

  2. Shannon Esposito
    June 13, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

    I read somewhere that women are happier if they “marry down” in the looks department. Maybe because they feel more secure that they won’t have to compete with women as attractive as them and their husband will appreciate what he has?

    I know that personally, my self-esteem is tied to how healthy I am feeling. If I can work out, do yoga, eat healthy, have energy to accomplish everything I need to do, then I feel good about myself. I feel so sorry for teenagers with all the photoshopped images of perfect-looking people shoved in their face at every turn. The world would be a much better place if we could somehow teach them to love themselves unconditionally and treat themselves kindly.

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    • kassandralamb
      June 13, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

      Amen, Shannon! The teen years are hard enough without having impossible ideals thrown at them. It’s a time when kids are starting to form their self-image of who they are going to be as an adult. So they are naturally questioning how they should look. And do you remember that horrible self-consciousness you felt as a teenager? You’re sure everybody in the world is noticing that little tiny zit on your chin, when in reality, everybody is too busy worrying about their own zits to care about yours!

      Reply

    • alicamckennajohnson
      June 16, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

      Shannon I agree I feel so much better about myself when I accomplish something physical then when I lose a pond or two.

      Reply

  3. Stacy Green
    June 13, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

    I’ve struggled with body image my entire life. I was chubby – and just plain fat – for a lot of it, and then finally lost 65 pounds in 2011. I thought that would be the end of it, but it’s not. It is a constant struggle to look in the mirror and be okay with what I see. I’ve finally realized, though, that I can’t tie my self-worth to my looks. And like the others, I feel incredibly sorry for the teenage girls these days. Things are only getting worse, and I worry for my own daughter.

    Reply

    • kassandralamb
      June 13, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

      Oh, Stacy, that word ‘struggle’ really jumped out at me. So many women, and a lot of men sadly, struggle with this issue. Glad to hear that you’re breaking the connection between self-worth and body image. Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t do the best we can with whatever the good Lord blessed us with, but we should be valued by what’s inside. Good luck with your daughter. It’s never too early to start pointing out to her that the media is presenting a false image of what one’s body should be.

      Hey, I just had an idea. Let’s start a “Just Say No” campaign aimed at teen fashion and beauty magazines! :) Thanks for stopping by, Stacy!

      Reply

    • alicamckennajohnson
      June 16, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

      Stacy tying self worth to something other then body image is so difficult. And I too worry about my daughter. I always try and watch what I say around her and I watch a lot of British TV, they tend to have more normal looking people on their shows.

      Reply

  4. gingercalem
    June 13, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

    Greay post, Kass. Perceived body image can be such an evil beast, especially for teens. I lived through some very sad years where I didn’t feel my body measured up to the ‘ideal’ I put in my head. Even today, I’m critical of my body but mostly now I’m proud of its strength and ability. But that was many years of maturity and 3 children in the making. :)

    I dated a guy, briefly, when I was a teen who checked himself out in every single mirror or reflective surface he passed. Yes, he was indeed very good looking, if the drooling girls could be believed. Ok–I drooled over him too. But it didn’t take me long to realize that he should be admiring me more than himself. And that was the end of that. hahaha!

    Looking forward to having you over tomorrow. I’ll put the coffee pot on, make a fruit salad, maybe a frittata … oooh, how about mimosas!!!

    Reply

    • kassandralamb
      June 13, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

      Yum! But you’d better hold off on the mimosas until after I tell the folks about my ten top tips for maintaining mental health. Not good if the tipster gets tipsy! (resisting the urge to delete; that was bad) :)

      Seriously, though, as you and Shannon are both saying, our body image should be more about our health and strength, so we can live life to the max! And even there, it’s a tricky balance to be realistic and not expect too much of ourselves, especially when you get to my age (but that’s a whole other post).

      Looking forward to tomorrow, Ginger! Can I bring anything? Besides my ‘tips’ list, that is.

      Reply

    • alicamckennajohnson
      June 16, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

      Thank goodness you didn’t date him for too long! Kids help us grow a lot don’t they. I think some of the most intense growing I’ve done has been in order to be better for my children.

      Reply

  5. kassandralamb
    June 13, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    Not real sure why my photo isn’t showing up when I reply. That’s not intentional. And just to clarify, the lady in the red dress in the post is not me. That’s Elizabeth Taylor.

    Reply

  6. Kassandra Lamb
    June 13, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

    Hey, you all might want to pop over to Emma Burcart’s post on Skinny Jeans at http://www.emmaburcart.com/2012/06/when-will-skinny-jeans-go-away/

    Another way that our body image and self-esteem gets eroded; when we feel pressured to wear clothes that are fashionable but don’t really flatter our particular bodies!

    Reply

  7. Reetta Raitanen
    June 13, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

    Profound post. I felt fat and unattractive when I was a teen but when I look at photos of myself from those times (and see some clothes from the time), I’ve realized that I was really slim. I was just hiding it really well under baggy and unattractive clothes.

    I’m more forgiving of myself now and know what looks good on me and what doesn’t. But choosing what to wear for any special occasion is hard now since I’ve gained weight after kids and budget is tight. Clothes aren’t everything but it really gives you a confidence boost when you know they make you to look good.

    Reply

    • Kassandra Lamb
      June 13, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

      Ah, I think I finally got this thing to put my picture up. I’m a bit techno-challenged.

      Reetta, I can relate somewhat. I don’t recall that I ever felt fat per se, but I didn’t really appreciate what I had in my youth. I thought of myself as just okay. But I look at pictures of myself in my twenties and early thirties, and I was downright skinny.

      Even though I’m preaching here that our self-esteem shouldn’t hinge on our looks, nonetheless, it does give a girl a boost when you know you look good in an outfit. I’m a bit of a clothes-horse myself; I love to shop, but I don’t really follow the fashions. Not unless they come out with something that is becoming to my figure.

      Here’s an idea that just occurred to me. Have you checked out any consignment second-hand clothing stores? I’ve found some real buys in ‘vintage’ shops, as they are sometimes euphemistically called. And you could take in some of your old things and put them on consignment. Might just break even!

      Reply

    • alicamckennajohnson
      June 16, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

      Reetta i agree when I ware clothes that look nice and fit well I feel better about myself.

      Reply

  8. emmaburcart
    June 14, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

    You are right, the way we feel about ourselves turns into the way we see ourselves. Because of the way my mother felt about herself and the messages she pushed onto me about my body, I always thought I was fat. I then got into shape in graduate school when I joined a gym. The funny thing is, a few months ago I was looking back at pictures from my childhood all the way through college and realized that I wasn’t actually fat. I was always a thick kid and got curves right away during puberty. But, fat? Not so much. It’s kind of amazing to realize that I didn’t see my actual reflection when I looked in the mirror. I saw those messages I received as a child. An image that wasn’t actually me. It feels so good to look in the mirror now and actually see myself as I am.

    Reply

    • Kassandra Lamb
      June 14, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

      Oh, Emma, I’m so happy for you that you’ve unchained your body image from the messages from the past. And it never ceases to amaze me how our mental image of ourselves can affect what we actually think we’re seeing in the mirror. Anorexics, who look like refugees from a concentration camp, can look in the mirror and see themselves as fat!

      And since when are women not supposed to have curves? That’s the way God intended us to be and I’ve got a flash for the world, men like curves! Curvy women of the world, unite!

      Okay, got a little carried away there. Thanks so much for stopping by, Emma!

      Reply

    • alicamckennajohnson
      June 16, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

      Emma what a great experience for you!

      Reply

  9. Julie Glover
    June 15, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

    One of my best friends was a dietician who reported to me about a workshop she attended at a professional conference. The point made by the expert was that studies have shown that body image is affected very early on in childhood. For instance, those women who were informed by their parents that they had been “fat” or “chubby” babies tended to see themselves as fatter than they were. It matters how we define and describe our children. I love the way you incorporated this concept into the book. Thanks to Kass and Alica for the post!

    Reply

    • Kassandra Lamb
      June 15, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

      Interesting study. Most definitely how we define our children to them, and to others in their earshot, has a great influence. And most kids naturally chunk up a bit just before they hit puberty (somewhere between 8 and 11 yrs old), and then they grow into that weight when they have a growth spurt a year or two later. That’s a very vulnerable time. Yes, we need to fight childhood obesity but we also need to be careful what we sear into kids’ minds about their bodies.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Julie, and sharing this information.

      Reply

    • alicamckennajohnson
      June 16, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

      That’s interesting, I’ve told both my kids they were wonderfully chubby babies, and that babies are supposed to be chubby. Huummmmm I hope they took it the right way?

      Reply

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