By Flora Johnson, M.Ed. | UAB Community Health & Human Alumni
“No matter how much positive energy you put into the world, you’re still gonna have people who have something mean to say about you.”
– Melissa Viviane Jefferson (Lizzo), Grammy Award Winning American Singer
What is Body Image?
The way people perceive and feel their physical selves is called body image. Men, women, and all peoples have concerns about their body image. Their weight, the shape or size of a body part, skin, or hair is often zeroed in, bashed, and picked apart. The fashion industry is a major contributor to widespread unhealthy body image through the careful selection of underweight models to display their products, but our peers, the media, and even family members all influence body image. This often promotes destructive feelings of inadequacy.
Body Acceptance Journey
Melissa Viviane Jefferson – known professionally as Lizzo – is an American music artist celebrated for her vocals, savvy personality, and positive body image. She attacks the world with explosive performances and lyrics. The singer shows the world how much she adores herself through outspoken music- inspiring others to accept, love, and protect their own bodies.
Following the release of her new single and a step back into the public limelight, Lizzo had an Instagram honest moment that addressed negative body image comments.
“On the days I feel I should be the happiest, I feel so down,” Lizzo told fans while sitting in her bathroom wearing a wig cap dabbing her eyes. “Like, I hurt so hard.” The Grammy winner revealed she feels unappreciated for working “quadruple” the time. “Sometimes I feel like the world just don’t love me back,” she sobbed.
Positive and Negative Body Image
Everyone struggles with body image. Having a positive body image is understanding that the value of self-worth is not dependent on appearance. It is a positive energy accepting and appreciating a stable body appearance. If a person is satisfied with their image, they flaunt it – unapologetically.
And for the most part it doesn’t hurt my feelings; I don’t care!Lizzo
Unsatisfaction with one’s appearance is called negative body image. People may compare themselves with others, feel ashamed about parts of their bodies, lack confidence, or feeling uncomfortable in their own body.
Improving Body Image
Learning to love your body is a journey. A balanced lifestyle that incorporates healthier attitudes, food, exercises, and practices is easier when you are in tune with and respond to the needs of your body.
These tips can help a person feel more positive about their body.
- List 10 things you like about yourself
- Practice positive self-talk. Say, “My arms are strong” or “I am beautiful.”
- Do something nice for your body
- Aim for a healthful lifestyle and eat a nutritious diet
- Wear comfortable clothes that look good on you
- Avoid comparing yourself with other people.
- Be actively critical of media messages and images that make you feel inadequate.
- See yourself as a whole person, and an imperfect body part.
- Start a hobby or blog
I don’t have time for your negativity – your internalized self-hatred that you project onto me with your racism and fatphobia. I don’t have time for it. Anyways, I’m going to continue to be me. I’m going to continue to be a bad b—-.Lizzo
You can listen to a podcast episode from Flora “Coach Flo” Johnson discussing body image here: Pillow Talk – Body Image Entanglement.
If you or someone you may know is experiencing body image or eating concerns, seek immediate help. Speak with a doctor, dependable friend, therapist, or parent about your situation.
Brazier, Y., & Marney, W. A. (2020, October 11). Body image: What is it, and how can I improve it? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249190.
Hussein, S. (2021, February 18). Photograph of Lizzo. WireImage.
National Eating Disorders Collaboration. (2021 March). Body Image [Fact Sheet]. Australian Government Department of Health. https://nedc.com.au/assets/Fact-Sheets/NEDC-Fact-Sheet-Body-Image.pdf.
Yang, R. (2021, August 15). Lizzo tearfully slams ‘fatphobic,’ ‘racist’ haters as cardi B and more celebs Offer Support. EW.com. https://ew.com/music/lizzo-cardi-b-haters-fatphobic-racist/.