Since the dawn of human existence, both men and women have been subjected to all kinds of prejudice regarding their appearance. As a species we have ridiculed many that do not appear to conform to the current type that is in vogue.
Where exactly do these rules come from? Who decides what looks good today but not necessarily tomorrow? Perhaps, more importantly, why does anyone actually care?
Humans seem to spend much of their lives trying to attain things which they presume other people have. If you have straight hair, you wish it were curly. If you are thin, you would like to be fatter. Those that are tall want to be shorter. Life seems to show us that there are few people in our lives that are happy with their appearance.
Influencing beyond normality
Advertising and media do have a big part to play in today’s digital world. Although everything is so fast moving, images still have a knack of sticking in the forefront of our minds. This is even more apparent when a celebrity, influencer or major brand uses imagery that is considered by some to be edgy. It becomes downright dangerous when these same people push these images as being part of the new norm.
The fact that we see ourselves on a day to day basis makes it easier to miss the changes. If celebrity X sees a picture of his or herself from say 5 years ago, it becomes much easier to see the huge differences in body shape. We can easily look at before and after pictures and see the contrasts.
The BDD Dilemma
For those obsessed with their body image and shape, there is always a danger of body dysmorphia.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental health disorder where the person is unable to stop thinking about a perceived flaw in their appearance. They are unable to stop thinking about it and the results are both damaging to health and cause significant stress.
Some common signs of BDD include
- A strong belief that you have a defect in your appearance
- An unhealthy obsession with any minor defect (real or perceived)
- Engaging in behaviours in an attempt to fix or hide the ‘flaw’
- Believing that others take a special interest in your perceived flaw
- Constantly seeking reassurance from others
- Never being satisfied with surgical procedures which have been performed in an attempt to fix the ‘issue’
- Avoiding social situations
This preoccupation with appearance can have devastating effects on some individuals and is the cause of many mental health issues today. It doesn’t just affect women but the majority of sufferers are female.
Although the focus may be on one particular area of the body, it can be related to several parts all at the same time. The attention can even switch to different parts of the body over time.
The most common areas of fixation are
- The Face – eyes, chin, nose or skin
- The Hair – baldness, thinning or general appearance
- The Breasts – size, placement or sagging
- The Skin – veins, blemishes, or scars
- Muscle Tone or size
- Height – tall or short
- Size – thin or fat
The importance of acceptance
The fact that society has placed this noose around the necks of most of us is heart breaking in itself. Admitting that we as human beings spend much of our time judging a book by its cover is perhaps even worse.
Accepting people for who they are is the biggest compliment we can give other people and being non-judgemental helps us see the real person within.
The strongest relationships are based upon a deep understanding of a person as an individual. It is based upon really knowing and understanding personality traits and being tolerant of all parts of a person’s character.
Of course, we all have boundaries of what we find acceptable in those around us and the types of people we prefer to spend time with. The more we get to know a person, the more they will perhaps open up to us and show their true self. We may like some of their behaviour but dislike other parts.
Acknowledging that each and every one of us is an individual is key to understanding human nature and absolutely necessary to enable a harmonious existence. This starts with not applying labels to other people and being tolerant and accommodating to each and every single person you meet.
The right help
For those people who find themselves struggling with their ‘perceived’ image or what other people may think of them, things can be tough. Each and every single one of us needs to be aware. Sometimes a simple ‘Hello’ is enough to left someone’s day. However, those who are suffering need more than the occasional friendly wave.
Dealing with anyone that has mental health issues is extremely difficult and normally requires professional help. Learning how to steer the individual towards that help is key to providing the best support possible.
A piece of Pineapple
Pineapple Support provide free and subsidized therapy to anyone currently working in the online adult industry. The ever-growing team can offer phone, face to face and online video therapy sessions and members of their team are available 24/7 for those in need.
They have also just launched a corporate training service for companies to allow employers to recognize and react to signs of mental health struggles and issues. It is important that the industry creates a safe and caring environment for all performers to work in.
Companies can be at the forefront of making this happen, by supporting each and every one of their workers, so that no one need ever feel alone.
If you are an individual and need some help or advice, contact Pineapple Support right away.
If you would like to offer your support and/or services, contact Pineapple Support to find out what you can do to help. You can volunteer your time as a listener or as a therapist, or perhaps think of some fund-raising ideas. Every little helps!
If you run a company (or work with one where you think Pineapple could make a difference), contact Pineapple Support for more details of their corporate training package.
Together WE can ALL Make a Difference!
Love Carla x