Ulta Beauty by Mike Mozart
Beauty by Leslee Mitchell
Beauty by Amir Rodof
Nova by sysy_119
Beauty 1 by Andra Bradin
The Divine Goddess Mrs.Queen Sabine Mondestin by Sabine Mondestin
Man Portrait by @Doug88888
Man by Petras Gagilas

About The Positive Reflection Campaign

The Positive Reflection Campaign was created to bring awareness to the issues concerning body image. This website covers different areas of body image, body esteem, and standards the media sets. We explain how certain types of people are affected due to their gender, race, religion, etc. as well as any side effects that can occur. We also provide information to help others troubled by having an unheathly body esteem. This campaign was made to strictly help people, no other reason.

About Myself

I personally have had issues with body image my entire life. Since I was a teenager I remember having thoughts that I was not pretty, needed to lose weight, etc. Bullies in school did not help either. I still have some small perks about myself that I wish I could change, but honestly, who doesn't? I have grown into a person that is proud of myself and does not wish to change myself. That is why I want to spread awareness of body image and the positive and negative impacts it can have on us as a society.

The picture on the left is from about three years ago. At the time I wasn't eating, sleeping, or taking care of myself properly. Looking back, I can say I was too skinny and unhealthy. The picture to the right is from one year ago. I clearly have gained weight, but weight that I needed. I started taking better care of myself, emotional, mentally, and physically. I sleep, eat, and take care of myself the way I should now. At first I missed how skinny I was but I've realized that a healthier well being is better then wanting to be skinny. I feel better and I am more comfortable in my own skin. Looks are not everything, being healthy and happy is.

What is Body Esteem?


174 by Mitya Ku

Body esteem is self-evaluations of one's body or appearance (definition by PubMed.com). Every morning when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we create an image of ourselves. Whether it be right, wrong, or indifferent, it is a visual of us that we take constant note of. This can affect our emotional well being in a positive or negative way. People with a positive body esteem may, for example, think they are physically beautiful to themselves, even if others don't view them that way. People with a negative body esteem may think they are fat, ugly, etc. They let the opinions of others greatly affect the view of themselves. This can have dire consequences including depression, anxiety, and even suicide.



Facts About Body Image & Body Esteem

The concept of body esteem has received considerable attention in literature for more than 50 years. This is due in part to evidence suggesting that both women and men in North America are growing increasingly dissatisfied with their bodies.
Girls' self-esteem peaks when they are 9 years old.
"Body image" is the way that someone perceives their body and assumes that others perceive them. This image is often affected by family, friends, peers, and the media.
People who are unhappy with their bodies and don't seek healthy nutrition information may develop eating disorders.
Body image is closely linked to self-esteem. Low self-esteem in adolescents can lead to eating disorders, early sexual activity, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.
58% of college-aged girls feel pressured to be a certain weight.
Obese boys and girls have significantly lower self-esteem than their non-obese peers.
Up to 12% of teen boys are using unproven supplements and/or steroids. 13% of girls age 15-17 acknowledge having an eating disorder.
Nearly a quarter of girls age 15-17 would consider undergoing plastic surgery.



Credit to dosomething.org, heartofleadership.org, and Revising The Body Esteem Scale For The Next Quarter Century by Katherine Frost.

Race


Happy Couple by Ian D. Keating

Race has been an issue concerning people since the dawn of time. People judge each other due to their physical appearance. The biggest problem is people being racist against others. According to the Webster Merriman Dictionary, racism is a defined as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and those racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. A second and shorter definition is a racial prejudice or discrimination.

Depending on the race of the person can depend of the outcome of abuse they receive due to racism. African Americans, for example, receive the most abuse when dealing with racism. They are considered a "minority" group. Definition of this according to racism.org is a subordinate group whose members have significantly less control or power over their lives than members of a dominant or majority group. Second definition is a group that experiences a narrowing of opportunities (success, education, wealth, etc) that is disproportionately low compared to their numbers in the society. Racist groups falsely judge this race due to their differences in physical appearance such as skin tone, texture of hair, height/weight, etc. Another example is Asians. They are judged due to their height, skin tone, shape of their eyes, etc. Sadly they are mainly looked down on for these appearances by other groups of people. This is not emotionally healthy for these race groups. It has a negative impact on their body esteem that can cause long term damage.

Body esteem can be negatively affected if you're a victim of racism. The use of stereotypes used by others is not always fun and games. It can have a bigger, negative impact on the person. According to the source Comparisons of Body Image Dimensions by Race/Ethnicity and Gender in a University Population, measures of body satisfaction often omit body parts that may be salient for racial/ethnic minority groups, such as skin color or hair texture (Bond & Cash, 1992; Neal & Wilson, 1989). Bond and Cash found that satisfaction with skin color correlated with overall appearance evaluation for African Americans. Clearly, more research on these types of variables are needed.

Just because someone may have a different physical appearance from us, doesn''t mean we are any different on the inside.

Gender


Men/Women by Ted Goldring

Gender is a big factor when dealing with body image in people. Men and women have always had certain stereotypes following them. For example, people make fun of women drivers due to talk about women not being able to drive. Some of these things, such as this example, can be considered as just a joke but there are major stereotypes and "standards" that each gender needs to follow to be considered "normal" in our society.

Men have always had certain standards they have needed to follow. According to the Bible, men were the first gender created. In the Book of Genesis, the first man God created was Adam. By this men are considered the majority gender since they were created first. This story also continues with the first women was created with part of Adam's rib bone. God took the rib bone from Adam when he was sleeping and from there the first woman, Eve, was born. The word woman means from the womb of man.

Men are affected greatly by society and how they feel about their body image. They are supposed to be the alpha sex and not be emotional about anything. They are also most importantly expected to be molded into the perfect body that will make them attractive and accepted by society. Men are supposed to tall, muscular, wide, strong, handsome, etc. There are many adjectives you could use. According to the paper "Men and Body Image: Current Issues and Counseling Implications", it states that "Grieve, Truba, and Bowersox (2009) estimated that there are millions of men who experience some level of body dissatisfaction. Approximately 10%-15% of eating disorder diagnoses are assigned to men (Carlat, Camargo, & Herzog, 1997), and 2.2% of males meet the criteria for body dysmorphic disorder (Koran, Abujaoude, Large, & Serpe, 2008)".

The media allows these stereotypes to affect many men everywhere. When they look at Calvin Klein models on television, it makes them compare themselves to that kind of fake perfection. Men have many kinds of body types. Small, big, fat, skinny, muscular, handsome, cute, and that's fine. Not everyone is going to look the same and shouldn't think they have to.

Women have the same types of issues but they are affected differently. They are considered the minority gender. Sadly women are looked so highly upon for their appearances that it's one of the biggest issues on their minds. Women are expected to maintain a certain slim body weight and become tall which can become an impossible task due to the woman's body type. According to the source "Associations Between Women's Body Image and Happiness: Results of the YouBeauty.com Body Image Survey (YBIS)", several studies have reported that women's body image (variously measured as body esteem, body dissatisfaction, and self-reported physical attractiveness) is associated with their life satisfaction, a measure of subjective well-being (Diener et al.1995; Donaghue 2009; Stokes and Frederick-Recascino 2003). That is, women's satisfaction with life appears to be influenced by their corporeal attitudes and embodied aspects of their self, distinct from their feelings of self-worth (Frederickson et al. 1998).

With the media so big on women having a "sexy" appearance and women thinking they need to look like a Victoria's Secret model, this can cause issues such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders. According to the source Undergraduate Women's Reactions to Body Image and Eating Disorder Research, One type of potentially sensitive research involves studies of disordered eating and body image dysfunction, which affects as many as 75% of college women (Fairburn and Beglin, 1990; Heatherton, Mahamedi, Striepe, Field, and Keel, 1997; Kronenfeld, Reba-Harrelson, Von Holle, Reyes, and Bulik, 2009; Raich, Rosen, Deas, Perez, Requena, and Gross, 1992). Stigma and secrecy are common among women experiencing eating disorders (Hackler, Vogel, and Wade, 2010). As such, disclosing symptoms, even within an anonymous self-report survey, may be distressing for women with disordered eating and body image dysfunction (Basile, 2004). Research in this area is important given the many negative effects of these afflictions, including among others: depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem (Thompson, Coovert, Richards, Johnson, and Cattarin, 1995; Weis, 2008).

All in all, men and women need to feel happy and confident in their own skins. There is no reason to feel like you need to look like anyone else.

Religion


Nuns by aNdrzej cH.

Religion plays a large role in how we define ourselves. Different religions have different standards for how we appear to the rest of the world. According to David Barrett et al, editors of the "World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2200," there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world. "Over half of them are independent churches that are not interested in linking with the big denominations."

Each of these religions has distinct ways they showcase themselves in their physical appearances. For example, nuns that are part of the Catholic religion are well known for how they dress. They dress very modestly because Catholicism is a very conservative religion. They dress in mainly black and have the majority of their body covered. Of course there are some nuns that do not follow this tradition but it is frowned upon when they do so. According to the article "Confessions of a Modern Nun by America Magazine", The National Catholic Review, The Vatican's apostolic visitation of congregations of women religious in the United States and the recent investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious indicate that Rome is unhappy with so-called post-Vatican II nuns who have donned secular clothing and abandoned traditional community life.

But why has this happened? Is it due to the restrictions on dress this religion has or the way we make them feel about the traditional dress? It can also go deeper than that with how they want to portray themselves to others. Not be given "handouts" per say since they are a nun. An article titled from The Hypocrisy Of Religious Sisters In Ordinary Clothes from someone's blog, Mundabor's Blog, talks about a situation where a nun chooses to not dress traditional. It states,

"When we were in our habits, a fellow with an Italian ice barrow would always insist on giving us free ices, but why should he? Why shouldn't we pay like anyone else? Why should we deprive him of his living because we were in a costume?"

The article continues by saying "Please stop for a moment and admire the self-effacing gentleness of the lady, desirous to not be recognized as a nun not to be free to do whatever she pleases instead of carrying with her at all times the duties (and the dignity) symbolized by her habit, but merely desirous to avoid the poor chap being deprived of his living. When I read it I was moved to tears. If this is not Mother Teresa, it's only half a notch below."

So, why can't we all feel this way? Just because a nun is a nun still doesn't change that they are human like the rest of us. They just want to feel "normal" like the rest of us and not be treated any differently, whether it be positively or negatively. I know that there are many more religious people and groups that have the same issues as well. I physically cannot cover all of these issues though.



Testimonials

These are testimonals written by people of different heights, weights, genders, and races. They are also left anonymous to protect personal privacy.

I am a 26 year old 6 foot 300lb man living in today's social media world. To me the media is ridiculous with what is expected and portrayed as "good body image". Although I'm not perfect in any way, I am happy the way I am. Their expectations are quite impractical with their models making them either starve or spend their lives in a gym to get the way they are. They shouldn't be influencing other people to look this way because it seems to me that it makes people think this is the way we should look but it's not half the time. The pictures taken are altered to a certain amount to get them to look the way they do. I have three years experience in Photoshop. This program is made for photo editing and I see these images that the media puts out. I can see were they added this, took this out. They're not natural at all, but most people don't see these things so there lead to believe that it's a correct body image for today's day and age. Be who you are not what everyone else wants you to be. If you're happy the way you are then that's good enough.

As a thin women that fits in a size 1/2 or 3/4 depending on clothing material makes be get ambushed just as much of the more fuller woman. I honestly hate how the media has the typical body size and how models are that size but being that size I feel it's okay but you have to be healthy. (most models are not healthy.. they diet..etc) Where I am a 22 year old that is 5'7" and weight 110 lbs.

Yes, I am completely healthy. I had many tests done to see why I cannot gain weight and everything came back okay. It is just because I have a fast metabolism. There is nothing that I could do for it. I get told... "oh my you're so skinny", "do you eat", "are you anorexic or bulimic". Even in high school, the nurse only sent a letter home to my parents saying since my bmi is low to my height and weight that they should take me to the doctors for having an eating disorder. (And no my bones do NOT stick out).

All in all, I DO NOT. I eat a lot. Yes, I am small but please stoooopp saying these things. It does not make us feel good because I wish I could gain weight. But I can't. So really, no matter how small or big you are you are still going to get bashed or comments to you and it will make yourself hate the way your body is. Just for being naturally thin does not make you happy since you really do not get good compliments but ones that make you just want to gain weight even more than you had before.

Body images is a huge thing with males and females but I feel we need to show multiple body types everywhere since every single person's body is different in its own way and the media should show that. Stop focusing on one type of 'perfect' because there is no perfect body type. As long as you are happy and healthy that is all that should matter. Be your own kind of "Perfectly Imperfect" and love it for what it is... it's beautiful no matter what.



Help

Depressed by Sander van der Wel


ReachOut
1 (800) 448-3000
us.reachout.com

Active Minds on Campus
(202) 332-9595
activeminds.org

Are you a victim of having negative body image? Are you suffering from depression, anxiety, or just need someone to talk to/listen to you? Call or visit one of the places below.

You're not alone. There are people that want to help you.


Emergency Crisis Team
(888) 796-8226
Provides 24-hour-a-day, 365-days-a-year telephone, mobile crisis, walk-in and crisis overnight residential services.

National Hopeline Network
1 (800) 784-2433

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-8255

RMU Counceling Center
(412) 397-5900
rmu.edu/counceling

American Psychological Association
1 (800) 374-2721
apa.org