How to avoid falling prey to media images


When you’re scrolling through social media or flicking through a magazine, how do the images make you feel?

If I over-expose myself to images of unattainable beauty, it will definitely have a negative impact on the way I feel about my body (IF I let it!).

BUT, after years of working on my body image, I’ve learned ways to stop myself falling prey to these types of images.

It isn’t always possible to censor out every image that might make you feel bad. BUT there are quick techniques to help you get out of a negative comparison spiral.

In this post, I’m sharing three questions you can ask (care of the wonderful Brene Brown) that will stop you falling prey to the media’s careful curated and shame inducing images.

Watch or read below:

Body shame inducing media images

In daily life, the media bombards us with countless images.  These images create expectations about how we should live life, what we should look like and what we should eat.

One way to stop media images from triggering body shame is to do a media detox.

A media detox means reviewing and cutting out any triggering media that you consume.

While this can be very effective, at times you need a way to deal with images that you can’t filter out.  These are the ones that pop up outside of your control.

Use your critical awareness

You need a way to reality check the images that you’re receiving.  This is called ‘critical awareness’.

Research Professor Brene Brown has come up with some great questions to help with this.

In Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You are” she shares a set of questions to stop you falling prey to manufactured and carefully curated media images.

Brown suggests three questions you need to ask yourself to stop yourself being triggered by media images:

Firstly, is what I’m seeing real? Do these images convey real life or fantasy?

Consider not only whether an image has been Photo-shopped but if it represents a real life situation you might find yourself in.

Secondly, do these images reflect healthy living, or do they turn my life, my body, family or relationships into objects or commodities? Think whether the images require unhealthy means to achieve the promised results e.g. losing weight through diets that require cutting out food.

When it comes to bodies, most media images treat bodies as objects to be ‘fixed’ or ‘improved’.

Finally, who benefits by my seeing these images and feeling bad about myself? Media images are predominantly designed to sell products or create some kind of control. There is always someone else benefiting from your consumption of them.

When you challenge the real purpose of the image, you take away its control over you.

Give these questions a try the next time you see an image that is triggering for you. Working through these questions will give you much needed perspective.

I’d love to know how you find these questions, so please leave me a comment below.

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