Hum Sex

Course Reflection: I challenged myself with this class a little because this was my very first time taking an online course and it was very different from what i have been used to. It really taught me to manage my time and to set aside a few hours a week dedicated to doing the readings and assignments for this class. This was impertainve to succeeding in the class because if you did not stay on track it would be very hard to catch up. I stuck with this class because I was really insterested in the topic and I have heard great reviews about the course. 


Course Description:One great assignment that still continues to resonate with me until today was our essay on body image. The purpose of this assignment was to asses how we feel about our body image and what factors contribute to our understanding and perceptions of it. The assignment also included making a critical analysis on how the the portrays body image, but also how body image is perceived by our friends, family and community. 

Artifact: Essay on Body Image

My Body

Body image has everything to do with my personal self- esteem.  I strongly believe that when a person feels good about their body, they are more confident about themselves and have the self- esteem it takes to step out into the real world. Observing how my body has evolved from my childhood to adolescent years and noticing what it has become as an adult, I can see the drastic changes in which I feel about myself, but also have a whole new outlook on how I see the world. Body image plays a big role not only in one's personal life, but also in society. The ways which body image is portrayed through every form of media gives insecure individuals like myself even more reason to feel unaccepted and inadequate. Through this essay, I will explore the ways in which my experiences have caused my self- esteem to be affected by my body image, compare and contrast the negative and positive stigmas of body image between men and women, but also reveal how the media plays a role in shaping my own self- esteem.

      Growing up I was surrounded around a lineage of women- Filipino women who have all at one point either won or have been a part of beauty contests in their lifetime. Fortunately, my mom never made me join any contests or pageants that judged someone based on talent or a look. However, my family always made sure that every time I stepped outside the house, I always looked presentable and made sure that I had the best hygiene. As a male child, they made certain my hair was nicely combed, I smelled fresh, my nails were trimmed and my teeth were always brushed. It was then I had an understanding that image was important. At that early age, I fell into this obsession that made me feel good about myself when I looked good, especially when hearing compliments from family friends or amongst peers at school. But the image I tried to portray of myself also stemmed from fear. Watching television showed me how ruthless kids could be, but I also saw how kids my age got picked on for looking a certain way at school.  They were bullied, beat up and laughed at, so to dodge that kind of humiliation I always kept up with the latest trends to keep myself from being harassed.

      Once I got to high school I started to party more and more- still remaining pretty fashionable and fit. Working at Banana Republic taught me to dress for less because I took advantage of such a generous employee discount. Although I did a lot of drinking and eating, my body did not really transform much. Interestingly enough, I got teased many times for being very skinny, but when I looked in the mirror I was very confident about myself. I could take off my shirt with conviction, knowing that even though I did not have a defined six pack, I still had a flat stomach that the women would find attractive. At the age of sixteen, my self- esteem allowed me to interact with everyone and anyone I wanted to. I also felt confident enough to chase after women in hope of relationships. This is when life was good, not concerned about my body because everything came so easy. I got my weekly exercise through the hip- hop classes I was taking and I had such a fast metabolism that after eating out with friends, I headed straight to the restroom for my daily bowl movement.

      Growing up in Los Angeles, I was no exception to the "glamorous," or "Barbie doll culture." With Hollywood just around the corner, everyone was trying to "make it" in one way or another. Although I was pretty young, I thought it would be great to try and land myself an agent since I was already doing some singing and acting in my high school. I went to a casting call that was looking for potential artists that were looking for representation. Low and behold, I made it through to the preliminary phase, but decided not to pull through with it because of fear. That moment was one of the very first times I had ever doubted myself. I thought to myself, "I would never make it," "look at all those attractive and sexy people," "they are much more talented people than you," and "you don't have what they are looking for." I set myself up for what would be one of the most disappointing moments of my life. However, life went on and I continued to pursue my dream, but without an agent. I knew then how competitive and shallow the industry really was and I told myself, "maybe one day…"

      I got accepted into San Francisco State's Drama department in the the fall of 2006, so with no question or doubt I made my way to the Bay Area. Before, I left all my friends warned me about this concept they called the "freshman fifteen." After learning that college students tend to put on weight during their first year of college, I had no doubt that I would not fall into that statistic. I convinced myself that I was different and that I had control of my eating habits. Well, my freshman year had already passed and my body was still looking pretty good, despite all the partying and drinking I had been partaking in. I kept in touch with my friends from back home and laughed at them for even thinking that I would ever gain weight. But as I continued on through my college experience as a second year at State, I joined organizations, participated in internships, took an overwhelming amount of units and worked many hours. Then, slowly but surely my body started to look more and more different. Because I was continually busy and on the go, I never had the time to cook so I ate a lot of junk food. I found myself at McDonalds, Jack in the Box, In and Out and all other fast food restaurants alike. I was no longer getting my weekly exercise because every free minute I had, I used either catching on homework or catching up on sleep. I was a complete and utter mess. I started to notice that my clothes were no longer fitting me. I refused to believe that I was getting bigger, so I continued to wear them, but when I went out with my friends they would make sarcastic comments about how "fitted" my clothes looked on me. It was then that I finally looked in the mirror and started to believe that my body has blown up. I went through a very depressing moment in my life where I did not even want to look at myself in the mirror because I felt like the ugliest person in the world. I cried myself to bed at night and found that all my personal journal entries were very dark. Being on campus made me feel like I was constantly being judged- even though I wasn't. My performance at school was getting poorer and poorer and my social skills were getting worse. I was no longer the outgoing confident person I used to be.

      Till this very day I still continue to feel the same way, but my circumstances have gotten a little better. I make some time to work out when I can even if it is just once a week for at least thirty minutes. I figured it is best to take things one step at a time. I also tried switching up my diet to eat healthier. Although campus food is not the best, there are some healthier options that are much more beneficial to my health. I also continue to surround myself around positive people and those who feel the same way about their body image as I do. Yes, we do laugh about it often, because sometimes in order to get away from the depressing thoughts you have to find humor in your personal imperfections. It is what makes us human beings and there is no one out there who is perfect.

      Going through this experience and connecting with others has really taught me that men and women are actually the same when dealing with body image and their self- esteem. I cannot speak for all men and women, but those whom I have built relationships with all bring up the same concerns. For my friends who are women, particularly those who are single, feel insecure about their bodies because they feel like they no one will be attracted to them based solely on their personalities. Interestingly enough, the men feel the same when it comes to women. I live with five other males and they claim that women are just as shallow as men when it comes to relationships and acceptance, so they have to work extra hard to physically look good just so a girl would even notice them.

      When I try to make sense of all of this, I cannot help but place blame on the media. Everywhere I look, whether it is in magazines, on the television or on the computer- body image is everywhere. Advertisements that show beautiful and handsome  models to sell a product, diet programs that show success stories of the fat person gone skinny or the latest celebrity to lose the most weight consumes our everyday lives. Then, when I look at these images and do not see a resemblance I start to question myself, thus losing my self- esteem because what the world happens to see as handsome, I do not fit under. There is a bigger picture here that places responsibility of one self- esteem far beyond just one's self. When society is basing acceptance on beauty or the lack there of, it will become no surprise that the rates of depression, mental and physical illness will increase. Although the media, is supposed to be used as a source of entertainment, there are many of us who take it very literal whether we are conscious about it or not.

      The only real solution I feel would end this problematic situation would be to take personal responsibility in one's own actions and life. Obviously, if there are certain circumstances that one can avoid in order to live a healthier life or if there are practices that one can engage in to get their body to where they want it to be, then must make a way to get themselves there. Of course, certain sacrifices will have to be made and it definitely will not be easy, but it is possible. But most importantly, I feel like there has to be a change in attitude and a change in view point. America is such a privileged country to live in and sometimes we take that for granted. What I mean by that is we are so caught up in the lifestyle of consumerism that many times we face harsh consequences. Personally, I feel like I need to stop being a victim of the media because then I will continue to do more damage to myself. I should not let the media define what it means to be beautiful or handsome or intelligent. But most importantly I should not let the media determine my self- worth.