With a positive or healthy body image, a woman has a real perception of her size and shape. She also feels comfortable with her body. With a negative body image, a woman has a distorted perception of her shape and size, compares her body to others, and feels shame and anxiety about her body. Being unhappy with your body can affect how you think and feel about yourself as a person. A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, unhealthy dieting habits, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Developing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial to a woman’s happiness and wellness.
I had a conversation with an ex-gf last night. We were out with a group of old friends, and someone handed us a picture of the two of us from when we were dating. She looked pretty much the same, which is impressive as the picture was over 10 years old, while I looked substantially different. Sure my head is shaved now, I have a beard, and I wasn’t even modded back then, but the thing I noticed most was my body. I’m not an overweight guy, I’m a little on the big side of average, but nowhere close to being an unhealthy weight. In my mind, I’ve always been roughly the same size. It turns out, I’ve been wrong. You see, in the picture I was a stick figure. I started asking around, “was I really that skinny?”. I was holding a photograph of myself, and I still couldn’t believe it.
It really got me thinking about how we perceive ourselves by our body image, as well as how much we rely on others to judge us. While I don’t want to get too deep into a discussion about eating disorders and the like, I did want to talk about how we, as people who go to great lengths to modify our bodies, feel about the judgments and stigmas that arise when discussing body types.
We as a community are a very unique bunch. We all do things to achieve what we perceive as the way we want our bodies to be. We push the limits every day of what the human body can take in terms of modification. We stretch, pull, poke, cut, and more, all in the goal of getting self satisfaction.
So given all that, what makes us different from those with eating disorders? I’m not trying to make any accusations here, I’m just throwing some ideas out there to discuss. Think about it. To a person who has a negative body image, like the quote above describes, they are not happy with the way their body appears. These people will then go to extremes to try to force their bodies into how they believe it should appear. Crash diets, excessive exercise, eating disorders, all of these are what people (and yes this goes for men as well as women) go through to change themselves. The sad part of these behaviours is that often when the person reaches their initial “goal”, they will find something else wrong and continue the behaviour.
So where does the fault lie? Where do these people get the notion that they need to change themselves to fit a specific ideal? This is where the line gets very blurry. We as a community are continually changing ourselves. Some more than others, and some even feel the need to continually change as they can never quite attain their goals. Plus there are a number of modified people who also suffer from a negative body image, and do have the same problems that an unmodified person may have. I think the answer may lie in the motivations. With modifications we deviate from the “norm”. What may be considered unacceptable in some places, is celebrated here. We have bonds with each other where we can get together and discuss our progress. We talk about new techniques, new ideas, ways to make our changes even better than we could imagine. We have support.
Yet when it comes to issues of weight and body image, things become slightly different. To discuss one’s modifications with other modified people is the norm in our community, to someone suffering from an eating disorder, talking to someone about it can be the hardest thing in the world to do. To talk to someone means that you first must accept that you have a problem, but then you have to do the unthinkable, which is go to someone and say out loud that you have a problem with your self-image and you need help. There is no stigma in our community towards getting modified, yet for some reason when a person chooses to alter their body shape, or suffers from an eating disorder, there is still a negative stigma attached.
When you look at someone who is overweight or obese, your first thought probably is “they should lose some weight”. Yet to many people they feel that they themselves must lose weight, even if by society’s standards they aren’t overweight or obese. There have been many studies and books written talking about how over time the media and society have crafted what would be considered the ideal standard, which to many people is an unrealistic standard. We’re now in a world where more and more people are doing drastically unhealthy things just to meet this falsified standard.
Which brings me back to us. Do we as a community hold a double standard when it comes to body types? We’re a global community that willingly welcomes people with open arms, regardless of what they look like in terms of their mods. Yet when we discuss body type and body image, do some of us forget how we’re all here because we are taking control of our bodies, which means accepting the way we look? The reason I’m asking these questions stems from an older ModBlog post that was brought to my attention. Last December IAM: Botexty submitted an image of her newest tattoo. She just sent in a healed image which I want to share with you now.
Going back and looking over the comments, you’ll find a mixed bag of reactions. Some discuss the tattoo, others compliment her on her ass, and some do the exact opposite. And while most of those people were chastised, I found it a little upsetting that readers of ModBlog, who are some of the most open-minded people I have had to privilege to know, can possess the capacity to judge a person simply on their body shape. Isn’t that part of the reason we’re all here. This community is built as a safe haven for those sick of being judged out in the world. A place where they can be who they want to be without fear of negative comments about their bodies.
I pose this question to you now ModBlog readers? Are we truly an accepting community, one that ignores the “faults” in others, or are we just a microcosm of the larger world where we have members that find it acceptable to pass negative judgement on a person’s body, while expecting approval for their own body?