Last week we appeared on Daybreak to have a chat to Lorraine and Aled about body image, particularly body dysmorphia, and the extreme measures young people are taking, due to lack of self esteem and warped associations with their bodies.
Lisa suffered from body dysmorphia a few years ago, the symptoms crept up on her, to the point whereby she only wore baggy clothes, covered up her arms at all costs and in the very worst phase wasn't leaving the house. Luckily she received treatment early, and can now talk retrospectively about her experience to raise awareness, but with 1 in 100 people suffering from the disorder, more needs to be done,
The crucial and disturbingly common misconception of body dysmorphia is that is about vanity and a pre-occupation with yourself, but in fact it's the total opposite, it breeds from insecurity and self loathing. Which is why it's so difficult to detect and why there is such stigma around opening up about it, the thoughts are so irrational that understanding and accepting them yourself is virtually impossible, let alone explaining them to a family member or a GP.
It is classified an anxiety disorder so it can stem from control issues and other things, and certainly Lisa didn't and still doesn't feel any direct pressures from TV execs or management to look a certain way. However perhaps the issue is far more deep rooted, from a very young age we are bombarded with images of woman who are preened and airbrushed to unobtainable perfection. Subliminally these must affect our psyche and give us both corrupt ideals and place inflated importance on our appearance.
"If I don't feel right in what I'm wearing, I'm not going out". How many times have we heard that from friends? We have totally immunised ourselves to these extreme reactions to our relationships with our bodies. Of course there is a tightrope we must precariously navigate, between taking pride in our appearance and letting our appearance take over our pride in ourselves.
We can't entirely blame the media and high end marketing campaigns, instagram 'filters' create glossy illusions and internet comment invigilators have a lot to answer for. Lest we forget HUMAN BEINGS and direct comments and insults based on aesthetics, we live in a society where initial judgement is based on what we see before us. The amount of times we've been told at DJ gigs 'your'e not even that hot' is innumerable. Interrogate, slate and berate on the skill I've come to perform by all means, but why turn it into appearance? You wouldn't say the same to a male DJ? Or the doctor who was checking your pulse?
The other huge problem about body dysmorphia is the normalisation and misuse of the term. You only have to look at gossip magazines covers to see celebrities mouthing about their muffin tops, slamming their cellulite and loathing their legs; thats human nature, its natural. Its not necessarily right, and we all do it far too often, but it's something innate in all of us. The issue is when it become debilitating and affects the day to day running of your life and these parameters need to be much much clearer. Please lets reassess our attitudes for the sake of the next generation, as they are going to be exposed to a lot more than we are and they must be equipped to reason with the images and attitudes they are faced with.
In an era where we are constantly accusing people of self indulgence and narcism, but in the same breath we tell creatives to draw from personal experience, we must encourage people to do the former and speak. We talk endlessly about what we dress, adorn and paint our bodies with, lets talk in the same vast proportions about how we feel about them.