Hi Tarsh here, back with another installment of my blog series taking look at body image and self esteem.
I recently read an article where Ronda Rousey (former UFC Champion) uploaded a photo-shopped picture of herself to her social media. The photo was sent to her to post in order to promote a TV appearance, and she didnâ€™t notice the editing. She quickly took it down and put up the original, with an explanation for her fans.
You see, the photo-shopping had slimmed Rondaâ€™s arms. Ordinarily, many women would appreciate this editing (normal reaction donâ€™t worry), but the way Ronda sees her body, is that we should all appreciate our own. She has worked long and hard for her sport, and this is what her arms look like as a result. Iâ€™m sure she has put in countless hours training and getting her body physically ready for competing and it is not about what her body looks like. Rather, it is about what her body can do.
In psychology, this discrepancy is appearance vs. functionality. People generally exercise in order to achieve something somewhere on the sliding scale between the two. For Ronda, it is all functional. She needs her body to be strong and be able to perform and endure what she does for a living. Many people these days, however, exercise mainly for appearance reasons. They want to tone up, or lose weight or get bigger muscles. When the functionality aspect is lost completely, that is when it can get dangerous. Skipping meals can cause you to miss out on important nutrition, and steroid use does not make you stronger (proportionately) but has so many negative effects on your physical health.
Who has the better body image? Answer: the people who appreciate their bodies for what it can do and not so much for what it looks like. If youâ€™ve given birth, run a marathon or broken a bone, I hope you know how absolutely incredible it is that your body could get through that. Even if you can go upstairs, touch your toes or go for a walk; we shouldnâ€™t take these things for granted. Exercise for function. So you can pick up a box without hurting yourself, so your core muscles can support your back from slouching and so you can walk to the shops without puffing.
Body image improves with age. As people get older, they learn to love their bodies for what it can do, and who cares if it doesnâ€™t still look the same! You hear stories of older or elderly people being fitter and stronger than they have ever been, and you can bet it isnâ€™t so they can squeeze into a size 6 or show off huge guns in singlet.
Let us know what you think.
Image Credit: Sourced from Flickr Creative Commons
A bit about me: Hello! My name is Tarsh and Iâ€™m going to be doing blog posts pretty regularly from now on. I have an honours degree in psychology, and will be talking mostly about body image and related topics. The honours thesis I wrote last year was all about body image, exercise and eating so I have done quite a bit of research about all of this type of thing. I hope to cover a range of topics and issues so stay tuned and I hope you enjoy it and maybe even get something out of it.
Also see my other posts: