How reality television is bad for your health

We’re always going to judge people based on physical appearance, we’re visual creatures, after all. However, reality shows take it a step further, promoting the sexual objectification of people as entertainment. Openly judging a person according to their body, placing a value on them solely because of their appearance and deciding on this basis if they are worthy of further attention is totally acceptable according to these shows.

I’ve come across some reviews approving of Naked Attraction because it sends messages of self-love, body confidence and celebrates different body types.

Fair enough, but it misses the point – we are more than just bodies and we are more than just how we look. And while we’re seeing more variety of body types, we’re still judging them according to how they look.

Body positive and body acceptance messages are widespread. The body positive movement promotes messages about ’embracing your flaws’, ‘loving your cellulite’ and ‘celebrating your curves’.

We’re entitled to feel good in our bodies. But remember we are more than just bodies and we should be appreciated as such. Inside these bodies are actual people, with feelings, thoughts and values.

When we reduce people to how they look and treat them as an object to be assessed, we perpetuate a message that how we look is more important than how we feel, who we are, or what we can do. Research shows that objectification (of women in particular) changes how we relate to ourselves and each other, and not in a good way.

If watching TV programmes like you mentioned motivates you to ‘work on your physique’, that’s OK. But know that having what you feel is a hot body is not necessarily going to make you feel better about yourself, land you the perfect partner or make you happier.

Health is more than how you look. When setting health and fitness goals, consider your motives. Focusing on how you feel (measured by things like energy levels, stress, mood, digestion, sleep and mental clarity) or what you can do (like improving strength, endurance, mobility, flexibility, balance or ease of movement, or learning new motor skills) impacts more on your opinion of self, how you present at work, in relationships and life in general than getting 6-pack abs or losing 5kg.

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