Culture in America today heavily emphasizes personal image. Everything from music to movies to social media platforms can influence how a young woman in college may feel about her body. College is a time to figure out who you are as a person, and that can be tainted with negative portrayals in the media. This causes young women to feel they need to go to extreme measures to fit the media’s idea of beauty, including developing eating disorders and depression.
Young women feel that in over to receive positive feedback on social media websites, such as Facebook and Instagram, one needs to over-sexualize oneself. People often post sexual pictures that objectify themselves in order to garner the most “likes” on a picture.
That’s where Proud2BMe steps in.
The website was created in the Netherlands by young women in high school and college reaching out to those dealing with personal image issues. The sole purpose is to promote positive body image and healthy eating habits. The site also includes ways to get your college involved to build a nation where confidence rules.
There are numerous polls showcasing how media outlets influence one’s own thoughts about their appearance. One poll shows that 75 percent of women compare themselves to pictures in magazines and social media outlets. When looking at images of models in magazines, almost every reader knows that the models are photo shopped to appear what they consider to be “perfect.” Even pictures on social media sites can be fixed with an array of filters that can create an illusion to viewers.
This destructive behavior of letting media infiltrating a women’s mind can lead to eating disorders due to poor body image. As I was lucky in receiving treatment for an eating disorder, there are hundreds if not thousands of college students suffering from one and may not even recognize the signs. Simple behaviors such as skipping meals or trying numerous diets can lead to the start of an eating disorder.
Proud2BMe aims to have eating disorder education, resources and support available to educate college students unfamiliar with the dangers associated with eating disorders. Many students are unaware of how many of their fellow peers may be suffering from this illness. The website offers ways to reach out to students on this growing epidemic on college campuses. There are also parent, educator, coach and athletic trainer toolkit that include extensive information about detecting whether a student or friend may be showing signs of an eating disorder. These toolkits would be essential to have on every college campus so that we are better able to handle these types of situations.
Another issue Proud2BMe deals with is perfection. Through social media, the idea of having the “perfect” picture or status has created a mask of who we really are. All the flawless photos, perfect stories about attaining success and best memories have clouded our judgment on what we deem acceptable to post on social media. It’s rare to see status showcasing a moment of failure for fear of being ridiculed. Reminding oneself that even successful people have moments when they’ve failed at something can push us to try again.
Having a website where college students can go and communicate with others dealing with similar issues is beneficial to building confidence and becoming their own person. It’s imperative to raise awareness on issues that are currently gaining momentum on college campuses like eating disorders and body image.
Check out www.proud2bme.org and help spread the word about the effects of eating disorders and how we can help to educate those around us.