How Does Body Image Affect Our Self-Esteem?

A thin waist, clear complexion, and perfect hair. It is every Queen’s dream to have the perfect body image. But is your idea of body image realistic? If not kept in check, the way we view our bodies can severely impact our self-esteem and mental health.

What Exactly Is Body Image?

blackfemalemirror

When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see, or do you wish that you were someone different? Our body image is how we view our self in our mind. It is how we behave when we think of our height, weight, skin tone, facial structure, curves, and hair. Some avoid looking into the mirror because they struggle with self-hatred. A positive body image is essential to our mental health.

Eating disorders and depression is linked to having a negative body image. Women are more likely than men to have an obsession with how they look. This is because of the pressure from the media. Magazine covers often show thin bodies and light skin complexions. TV shows have adjusted to an extent, but it still the norm to see someone with light skin and a thin frame to be playing the lead role. Your past and circumstances also affect how you view your body. If you were always teased and bullied as a child, you might be the adult that is always trying some extreme diet. And struggling with obesity causes some to have a form of bulimia. To avoid weight gain, some even force themselves to vomit by putting their finger down their throat. This is an unhealthy practice that can lead to heart failure.

Myths That We Need To Ignore 

So many myths in the fashion industry has distorted how one views their body. Because of false advertising, many resort to methods that may change their appearance for a while. But in the long-term, your inner health and outer beauty will suffer.

person holding a hand cream
Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

Lightning creams. Having dark skin is a beautiful thing. Don’t ever feel like you have to buy lightning cream to change your skin tone. The side effects of these creams are cancer, infertility, permanent scarring, skin inflammation, etc.

person holding injection
Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

Butt injections. The beauty industry sadly likes to push the whole “Big Booty Judy” hype. What is not being promoted enough though, is the females who have lost limbs, skin tissue, and even their lives from butt injections. Even if you get it done by a licensed professional, the dangers are not worth the risk.

tanning-bed-melanoma

Tanning beds. There is an infatuation with being light-skinned and it has caused skin cancer in Caucasian women. Tanning beds emit UV rays. This can cause premature aging of the skin, wrinkling, and age spots. It also can cause melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

woman in red dress using laptop on table
Photo by Ree on Pexels.com

Extreme fasting. It is a huge myth that starving yourself is a healthy way to lose weight. Intermittent fasting can help you control how you eat, but going without food for days can affect your kidneys and damage your metabolism.

Our bodies can be likened to a temple. We need proper nourishment, respect, and love. As long as you are eating healthy and getting the proper exercise, you are on the right track. Don’t overstress yourself with unrealistic standards. Practice saying positive statements about yourself in the mirror every day. How we look on the outside is only one component of what makes us. How we are on the inside matters more. So, love what you see, and keep on working on becoming a better you.

black+and+brown+women

 

Sources:

https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/body-image-and-mental-health/body-image

Toward a More Inclusive Understanding of the Body Image Construct: Findings from Studies with Black Women: The Role of the Media in Body Image and Eating Disorders

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Girl Blues

(Image Credit: Twitter)

It is a affliction that develops within us after being strong for too long. After being faced with barriers, negative outcomes, surviving trauma, inheriting a serious health issue, or coming from a disadvantaged background, many Queens of color fall into depression. “Black Girl Blues” has become such a hot topic that may books, movies, and even local community events are focusing on it. And yet, the stigma within the African and African-American community remains.

With a lack of resources and funds, many black Queens self-medicate by becoming workaholics, alcoholics, drug-addicts, or even sex addicts. What causes depression? Why is being a black female, and being depressed such a huge epidemic? How can a black Queen deal with depression?

What Causes Depression?

grayscale photography of woman
Photo by Lucxama Sylvain on Pexels.com

The Johns Hopkins University of Medicine has admitted that women of color try to fight their way through anxiety and depression by themselves. The whole stereotype of being the “strong black women” has been ingrained in our minds for too long through mainstream media. “Anyone can experience mental illness. There is no group, gender, sexual identity, race or cultural belief that can prevent it from occurring,” says Richards, M.D. “And it’s actually happening at higher rates than most other illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.” In the African and African American community ( I personally make it a point to separate the both because we are similar and yet so different), many attribute depression to someone who is weak. In the African American community it is quite common to hear depression be turned into a joke, and someone suffering from it is sometimes used as a source of comedy relief. In the African community when you bring up depression you are often the target of shame and mockery. Your relatives may go out of their way to embarrass you and make you feel as though you are not strong, that is why you can’t “get over it”.

Women of color suffer mentally more than the general population because we lack so much. When you have been stolen from, abused, neglected, and oppressed for centuries,more than any other race, you suffer more from violence, PTSD, poverty and homelessness. All of these negative components create a concoction of depression in a Queen’s mind.

The Three Strikes : Being Black, Being A Female, and Being Depressed

 

Every hit black TV sitcom I have watched whether it was “The Cosby Show”, “Living Single”, or “The Jeffersons”, the black leading female was always portrayed as being so strong. She always had a extremely witty demeanor with a hysterical comeback that would always save the day, and it would seriously get on my nerves. I mean why couldn’t Clair Huxtable ever have an emotional breakdown in front of her kids? Didn’t being a lawyer and seeing all of the corruption in the system ever depress her? Did not moving on up to the East-side emotionally exhaust Mrs. Jefferson? Queen Latifah did see a therapist while acting in “Living Single”, but it was not a reoccurring topic.

“During slavery you were supposed to be the strong one. You weren’t supposed to speak. You were supposed to just do,” said Esney M. Sharpe, founder and CEO of the Bessie Mae Women’s Health Center in East Orange, N.J., which offers health services for uninsured and underserved women. “…Our moms and our grandmothers always told us to suppress. Just be quiet, chalk it up, get up, dress up, fix your face, put on your best outfit and just keep going,” she said.

Women in general are more likely to experience depression than men do. (What a surprise.) But when your black, and a woman, your chances of experiencing depression are higher than the rest of the general population.

How Can A Black Queen Deal With Depression?

1.) Choose a provider that demonstrates cultural competence. Your healthcare provider should be able to provide care to you despite your belief, values and behavior. They should also take into account your social, cultural, and linguistic needs. If they can’t, then you need to find a replacement.

2.) Walk away from toxic relationships and/or family and friends. The saying : “You are who you sleep with”, is very true. You cannot have a healthy mind if you choose to have a partner that is constantly insulting you, demeaning you, cheating on you or beating you. The same goes for your friends and family. Misery loves company. If they are not uplifting you, you need to replace them with people who will.

3.) Seek help from a mental health provider. “I do think our community could use a lot of healing and I do think there’s a lot of potential for psychotherapy in our community,” said Psychologist Orbe-Austin.

woman wears beige suit hand shaking man wear suit
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com