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Do Women's Magazines Cause Negative Body Image?

Apr 10, 2008
Have you ever flipped through the pages of a woman's magazine and felt slightly disconcerted? The mixed messages are often enough to make even the most stable and confident woman dizzy with confusion:

10 Great Moves to Sculpt Your Butt!

Drink this Protein Shake and Lose Weight!

5 Decadent Dessert Recipes to Wow your Guests!

Get Happy Now - Embrace the Present and Learn to Love Yourself!

Try the Latest and Greatest Drug to Combat Depression!

Within 5 pages we can be told that we are too fat and should sculpt and tone ourselves, that we can impress our guests by cooking gourmet deserts, and that we should learn to be happy in the moment, but if that fails, there is always a vast array of antidepressants from which to choose.

Many women confirm that they feel worse about themselves after looking at certain magazines. The models in the magazines are usually much thinner than the average woman, and have been airbrushed as well. Many women look at the magazine and feel like they should be different than they truly are, that they are just not quite good enough.

The magazine insinuates that if we just buy a pill, or lose some weight, then we'll be better. Recipes for gourmet foods and diet products are advertised side-by-side, offering conflicting messages of feast and famine.

Yet the fact remains that these magazines exist because women are buying them. They must be getting something of benefit from them, right?

To make sure that you are making the healthiest choices for yourself regarding the information you digest, here are some key questions to ask yourself every time you pick up a magazine:

Do you feel better about yourself when you have finished reading it?
Do you feel energized and empowered, or do you feel frustrated and overwhelmed that you just can't quite measure up to society's standards?
Do you feel like you have received information that will help you move toward greater health, vibrancy, and love?

If so, great! If not, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate your reading.

The fact is we co-create our reality, every day, every moment. We usually have a choice about what information we choose to look at and listen to.

Everything we bring in through our senses needs to be digested and metabolized. We should treat reading material and other media in the same way as food - let's make choices that nourish and sustain us.

As women become more savvy consumers, choosing that which helps them feel empowered and worthwhile, and disregarding the rest, they can begin to make an impact on what media is being offered. If more and more women demand self-affirming material in their magazines, they can begin to change what is being offered to make a difference for themselves and the world around them.

As you sift through the competing messages in women's magazines make sure to be there for yourself. Offer yourself love, compassion, and understanding. This way you can get the information you need, while minimizing the impact of negative and conflicting messages.
About the Author
Sarah Maria is a body-image expert and personal empowerment coach who helps you love your body no matter how it looks.

Get Sarah Maria's $27 e-book for FREE by clicking here: "5 Steps to Loving What You See in the Mirror"
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