Dress And Body Image

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About the Author:

Vincent Fernandes hails from Valencia Mangalore and is a voluntary worker.  Since the past 17 years he has been working with the Christian Community in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He is also working with the General Practitioners in Abu Dhabi, and gives advice to couples who wish to enter into matrimony, and to those whose marriage is on shaky grounds.
Education: M.A. -Counseling and Psychology, Post Graduate from Madras in Family life, Mental health care Science from U.K., Biblical Counseling from USA, working in Abu Dhabi in Mental Health Care, Family Predicament issues and Detoxification Therapy.

(Readers are free to address their problems/concerns in detail to the writer and he will try his level best to answer your questions.  You may write to  Vincent Fernandes at or .

Does your daughter have a positive body image? Sounds unusual and absurd isn’t it? Teenagers specially between the age group of  13- 19,  today?s generation (specially girls) tend to create an impact on themselves as well as on the minds of  others.  They first of all see themselves and start appreciating their  beauty or image  in the mirror and then they  try to create an impression to the outside world.

Body image is based on perception, which may often be distorted. Because perception is subjective, the things that affect body image are individualistic. Dream Big Always. Girls tend to struggle with body image in far greater numbers than boys. Study reveals that boy?s don?t focus much on their body shape and size as girls. Children often mimic their parents? beliefs and prejudices. Any  comment a parent makes, can set a child in the wrong direction. In this case parents need to be aware of what they say, and how they react to their own and other?s body shape and size.

Recent study recommends a positive approach when talking with your daughter. Anything you focus on or make a big deal about becomes even bigger. Stick on or focus on things that have nothing to do with her physical appearance, such as character, personality and talents. Focusing  on inner qualities is more helpful. A girl?s peers may  affect her perception of body image. This is especially true as she reaches adolescence and peer groups become more important. The media continues to be a major influence on body image. Television shows, magazines and advertisers often show thin and pretty actresses and models. Does it really create an impact and to what extent is debatable but  there appears to be some influence. Girls should realize that  models have to stick on to their professional commitments.  Does their beauty make them happier and healthier? Do not let girls compare themselves to stars, because what they see isn?t reality.

Some attention to body size and shape is part of the normal growing process. As children start growing up, especially girls become more aware of how they look. Parents are realizing that  some of these feelings are normal. If  a girl doesn?t want to participate in sports just because  she looks ?not so good? in the uniform,  may signal a problem. This attitude signals that isolation is the red flag of a poor body image. At this point, the child may need more warmth, love and counseling from inside and outside. Being in a positive and healthy relationship with someone, helps a girl to  maintain positive body image talk with someone and feel accepted by that person, whether it?s a parent, teacher or counselor.  They  can help them reinforce a strong body image. Self-esteem and self-control are key components to a healthy being. If a girl displays confidence and personal control, the end result is  a positive body image.

The other important factor  is  ‘dress code’. Commenting on dress code, recently Cardinal Ivan Dias instructed the faithful to be careful not to  wear any revealing clothing because it is a place of worship and not a ramp to display your figure.  He said this – Bearing in mind the following  reasons which are:

Protect oneself from nakedness; protect oneself from inclement weather and for integrity. We have one fine example from the story of ?Good Samaritan?. We have not seen the incident but one concludes that he was wounded and possibly half naked and so on to imagine. Good Samaritan jumped up from his seat feeling sorry of the tragedy ashamed of his irrelevant and improper dress and multiple wounds. He took the charge of the wounded man and took care and restored his integrity.

The way one dresses is an expression of one?s respect and attitude towards persons and situations one encounters. Your dress code should be pleasing to the eyes of the people who look at you and meet you but definitely  not harmful. 

No one goes to an interview carelessly dressed but in a manner capable of making a good impression on the interviewers. Similarly one puts on a respectful, dignified and pleasing dress to meet the situation as it demands. Dressing style definitely,  reflects  one?s image, dignity and integrity.  So if people meet the needs according the situation- dress themselves in a way, suited to the spiritual and worshipful places.

Due to exposure of nakedness constantly blunted the young people, thus sense of shame has disappeared and due respect to the body gone into the ditch.
Mainly parents are encouraging this kind of attitude by  not providing sufficient moral status and respect to the age, gender and place. Trampling underfoot the rules of the dress code and encouraging the way one likes. (by watching media etc.)

Non-compromise and don’t-care attitude from the parents at the early stage is the worst situation they face while children grow to the fittest. This expression from their deeds and action spoil the image of dress code and worst part is spoiling the family image in the society.  I sincerely  appeal to all the readers, to kindly  excuse me for presenting this topic in a slightly  harsh manner but it is a matter of concern for many parents these days.

Please bear in mind while we go to the worship place, one meets the Creator in that place with spirit and mind. He was ashamed of Adam and Eve as they disobeyed in the Garden of Eden and covered with leaves from shame?  Reserve your party dress for attending the party, swim wear  when you visit the beach or the pool,  casuals for picnic, etc., Last but not the least, let your dress code match up with  the event and the occasion.  Your views and comments on this topic are highly appreciated. 

Author: Vincent Fernandes- UAE

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