Ladies vs. Gentlemen: Body image

Two Highlander staff writers dish in on how they perceive their individual appearances.

Myles Andrews-Duve (Jaspery Goh/HIGHLANDER)
Janine Lano (Jimmy Lai/HIGHLANDER)

There’s no doubt that, despite the commonly accepted moral of “brains over beauty,” the way we perceive our own bodies and appearance significantly impacts our mood, confidence and relationships with others. Body image extends farther than merely looking in the mirror and either liking or disliking what we see: It is often viewed as a measure of self-worth and how we stand in the highly structured pyramid of socially prefered physical attributes. Given that they are evolutionarily wired to have their own needs and are sensitive to certain traits, guys and girls no doubt assess their bodies in different ways and to varying degrees. Let’s see how two Highlander writers reflect upon their own body images and how they compare their own to those of their peers and other prominent figures.

 

Myles Andrews-Duve, SSW Janine Lano, SW
When did you first start feeling self-conscious about your body? When I was seven probably. I was overweight and got laughed at because of it throughout elementary school. And I was on a youth basketball team and was the biggest kid by far. I started feeling self-conscious when entering high school. The early teenage stage is definitely when we all kind of become self-aware.
How has your perception of your body changed since you were 15? I used to think I was super pudgy, because I was in fact super pudgy. Now I am not and I don’t think I am so I guess I’ve made progress. I’ve accepted how my body is designed, more so than when I was 15.
Look in the mirror: Do you like what you see? Yes. Yes and no. Of course there are things I wish I could change, but for the most part, I’m trying to learn to love what I have, and so should everyone.
If someone takes a picture of you, do you ask to see how it looks? Yeah of course. It’s only natural. I mean photos can end up everywhere nowadays. Of course! There’s no harm in asking.
Do you look at your reflection when you pass a glass door on campus? Yeah, I do that a lot. All the time. Occasionally. It’s only to make sure that my outfit isn’t in disarray.
Do you currently have your ideal body? Yeah I mean I am pretty comfortable with it. I’m really just happy I’m not pudgy anymore, it really disturbed me socially at the time. I’ve never had an image in my head for what my ideal body would look like. I do want to be more toned in certain areas, but having an ideal body isn’t really one of my goals.
Are any of your friends aware of how you feel about your body? Don’t think so. Unless we talk about the gym it’s not really a topic of conversation. My close friends are aware. Body image is a personal topic and I wouldn’t share if I loved or hated my body with just anyone.
Favorite feature of your body? Face? I like my legs a lot and on my face I like my eyes. Mmm, I guess my lips, even though they get chapped way too easily.
What have you done to hide, get rid of or change certain aspects of your body that you have been self-conscious about? I don’t really do anything now but when I was younger I would wear a lot of layers to cover up that I was overweight. The dark circles under my eyes are something I’ve always been self-conscious about. People would always point them out like I don’t know that they’re there. I’ve tried covering them up with concealer but once I did, I thought I didn’t look like myself. Now, I just own it.
What about your body image are you most insecure about that you are willing to share? Honestly, working to maintain low level of lower stomach fat is always a push-and-pull. It’s not much but just the hardest to maintain. My cheeks, as weird as that sounds. Because of them I have a round face which makes me insecure from time to time.
When you walk around campus, do you ever compare your peers’ bodies to your own? Only at the gym sometimes. Not in a way that puts me down but just like if there’s a big, super buff dude working out near me I’m like, “Wow cool that’s a big, super buff dude.” Walking around campus? Not really. To my friends? Yes.
Have you ever been pressured into looking like another individual, such as a celebrity? No, not ever. Well, maybe unknowingly. If you’re heavily obsessed with celebrities (which I am not), though, it’s probably impossible to not at least feel intrinsically pressured to look like a few. I’ve never been pressured personally, but there is definitely a pressure in the overall atmosphere to look perfect all the time as celebrities do.
Which social media app makes you feel the worst about your body image? None for me given who I follow. But of course all can. Snapchat.
Which of the following statements is most accurate: “Body image …”: Motivates me to exercise, motivates me to take better care of my health, makes me undesirable to other individuals, makes me embarrassed, lowers my self-esteem, makes me self-conscious? Motivates me to take better care of my health. Motivates me to take better care of my health.
What do you do to make yourself feel better about the way you look? If I feel weird about my body I probably work out harder than usual. Taking time to truly look in the mirror and accept that I was made the way I am for a reason.

 

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