Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.
Magazines, movies, and social media are full of images that objectify women. This idea of valuing appearance over competence is not new, but it is increasingly harmful. Unfortunately, living in a culture that objectifies others can lead to women objectifying themselves. The good news is that just because you have been valued for appearance alone by others or yourself, doesn’t mean you have to lay down and take a beating. Instead, step into the ring, pull on your boxing gloves, and fight with these three strategies to knock out self-objectification.
Give Beauty Definitions an Upper-Cut
The real problem with images and beauty standards is that they have been created with an airbrush. To put it simply, these standards are totally unrealistic. There are many different ways that you can define beauty by focusing on power instead of appearance. Remember, your body is an instrument, not an ornament for display.
Knowing the footwork: Instead of using numbers or a mirror to define your goals, pick goals that make you a better instrument. For instance, pick a hobby to master, go back to school, focus on how you are spending your time, or just focus on how your body feels. Learning to be intuitive, or know your body and self, is a great way to learn to appreciate yourself for things other than appearance. Few things are more powerful than a woman who takes her energy to help others and/or better herself.
Take a Time Out from Media
With all of the images that are on the internet and different forms of media constantly taking blows, it’s easy to become exhausted. Soon enough, the bell will ding and you will get a chance to rest. Allowing yourself time to recuperate is important to regaining the strength to fight again.
Limit the Swings: Take a break from things that distract you. This is going to look different for everyone, but whether you choose one day a week or one week a month, taking a break helps you refocus your efforts and conquer your goals. Another benefit to this strategy is that you gain more time to add variety to your schedule.
Be Mindful of who is in Your Corner
Almost everyone who has walked on this earth knows one or two people who can have a negative effect. During a match, the crowd can either work for you or against you, but the people in your corner remain constantly on your side. The key to limiting the naysayer’s influence is to not give them the opportunity to bring you down, but instead pile your corner with your biggest fans.
Get with the Game Plan: Restrict your interactions with negative people as much as possible. If it’s realistic, cut ties with them. When you are worn down, you don’t need someone telling you to quit. You need to do more than just cut out the negative- it’s important to surround yourself with people who are supportive of your goals. Know who the positive people are in your life and then add more. If you want to really shoot for success, have multiple support systems in place to help all your different aims. Join or follow uplifting groups on social media, make friends who participate in your hobbies, and have a few close friends or family members you can go to when you need a pick-me-up.
Fighting against self-objectification won’t always be easy. Learning to punch hard and hit the target takes practice. However, when you learn how to really love yourself for who you are, not how you look, you’ll be the one standing at the end with your arms in the air.