Body Dysmorphia

Today’s article discusses a topic not talked about as much as it should be: body dysmorphia. Body dysmorphia is a neurological condition affecting almost everybody in which people see themselves or their bodies differently than how it is in reality. There are two different types of body dysmorphia, and the severity can range. Body dysmorphia can also be a key symptom of eating disorders or other toxic behaviors. 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder by Proxy:

This is the most well known type of body dysmorphia in which people see physical imperfections with features or their shape. It can range from seeing extra layers of body fat where there is none to simply seeing old age marks where it doesn’t actually appear. 

Body dysmorphia can lead to people using makeup to cover up beauty marks that other people don’t notice directly, or it can also lead to people over exercising and dieting to achieve a specific body shape. 

In reality, however, these toxic eating habits don’t actually change your perspective on how your body looks. When we undergo dieting and overexercising, our body goes through such drastic, immediate changes that our brain doesn’t know how to react, which means that it can’t really tell the difference and sticks with the original shape at the beginning. 

One of the most common examples of this is giving birth. After a woman gives birth, their bellies shrink compared to pregnancy, but a woman tends to be illusioned away from that change. As explained before, our brain cannot handle the alteration in appearance and takes time to adapt to this new change with your body. 

Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder:

This type of body dysmorphia isn’t as well known and is more common in men. This type of dysmorphia revolves around the idea that men will see their muscles, whether arms, legs, or core strength/abs, smaller than they are. Many celebrities suffer from this. 

Muscle dysmorphia can lead to people continuing to over-exercise to get even bigger muscles (even when they are already strong) because they don’t believe that they are muscular enough. Many people pass this disorder off as male hormones and gender stereotypes, but it is a mental condition that can affect people to an extreme extent. 

Celebrities that suffer from body dysmorphia, in general, include Robert Pattinson, Billie Eilish, and even Michael Jackson. The condition led to a ridiculous amount of anxiety for each of these celebrities and ultimately some unhealthy decisions. 

Beyond Beauty and Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Dove, the soap and hair company, has made it a mission to show “real” beauty within everyone. They have a short film, which you can watch here, encompassing their mission. In the short film, the artist draws the subject according to themselves and according to a stranger’s observations. A shown trend was that people were much harsher describing themselves, as they talked about aging lines and beauty marks: minor things that the stranger did not even notice. On the other hand, the stranger described them by talking about their engaging eyes, unique hair, warm smiles, etc. The point of the short film was to show that we portray ourselves differently than everyone else sees us. 

Our general perceptions of ourselves are often harsher than how the world sees us, as we often live in a distorted reality regarding our self-perceptions. So, if somebody calls you beautiful, you have to trust what they say because everyone else sees you in a probably more realistic way. That’s what calling someone beautiful means at the root of it all.

Remember that you are a beautiful soul. Thank you for being in this world. It’s better with you in it. May your day be filled with beautiful experiences.

~ Carissa

Image Citation: Burk, Jennifer. “Person’s Left Hand Wrapped By Tape Measure Photo.” Unsplash, 2016, Accessed 2021.