Sunday, 15 March 2015

My Research On Body Image

As some of you have known, I was conducting a research from January to February this year. It was a research on Body Image and how our general young Malaysian adults feel about our body.

The research was a big deal for me. I wanted to use the semester to answer MY questions instead of working for others as free labour. Therefore, unlike many who took researches from scientists, I produced and arranged the Body Image research all by myself. The approval is mine, and the copyright is mine. So I am really proud of my baby and what I have really achieved for myself. Of course, with some help from Dr. Karen Morgan who supervised and inspired me to work for perfection in many ways.

The initial work to propose my study was extremely tough, which was out of my expectation. I started to realise ideas on paper since October 2014. Almost nothing worked. My initial plan was to conduct conformity research on public, to study whether people follow what the majority do, despite knowing that their behaviours are immoral. The proposal was rejected due to its social-deceiving nature. I suggested a couple more studies, both of which were rebuffed for some reasons.

For a day, I was feeling all frustrated and throwing sour faces at Arvin. I sat down and thought long and hard. All topics that I wanted to investigate can't work out. What else can I do? What else???

Among all desperation, Kim Kardashian saved me.

Remember Break The Internet? Where KK posted as if she has some back bone problem wtf I seriously don't understand the curvature angle.

Her shiny butts got me thinking. Since when have we loved fatter women? I thought we have always liked thin women like Kate Moss who looks like she hasn't eaten for 3 days? Oh wait, since when did we start liking thin figures from the curvy people like Marilyn Monroe? Is Kim Kardashian's butt really that nice? Why are people injecting shits into their butts to look like this?

Seriously, what have we done to ourselves?

When I was young, I thought Kim Kardashian was really gorgeous but super fat. But as the years go by, I find fat butts nice too. Could this be just a change in taste, or the effect of internets and gossip girls and plump people rising to power?

What about thin people? Personally, I don't think they look that good. I don't think hollow cheeks are pretty as well. So why do I still want to look like those hungry models?

So anyway, all thanks to Kim Kardashian, I derived my objective to investigate our taste in body image. I got my research proposed, approved, and completed. I wonder if Kim Kardashian knows that one day, she actually contributed to the field of intellectual science!! She probably looks like this when she finds out.

wtf animated GIF
My result came as a HUGE surprise:

Women are MORE satisfied with their bodies then men!!

Huge surprise. Because for all we know, women are the ones that are aimed everywhere. At work, in social media, by the family, in the ads, etc etc. There are a stronger pressure for women to look good. Almost all traditions across all cultures teach that if women don't shave their armpits clean nobody would marry them or ugly women are less worthier than pretty women while men are relatively unaffected.

So what does this say?

Either something went wrong with my study or, men are catching up, which is more likely to be true.

10 years ago, how many Asian men go to gym?? You probably know only 1-2 in your friend circle. Now?? At least 10-20 friends of yours go to gym. Those who don't go to gym are usually branded as lazy or flabby and fat.

10 years ago, what do women look for in men? Honesty, stable financial strength, reliability. Today, I talk about and stare at guys and their muscular arms and round perky butts.

After the section of calculating how happy people are with their bodies, I show participants these images.
One bamboostick gal and one buff dude.

Today, we think that people are smart enough to know that being so ideally thin is unrealistic and not beautiful at all! So, do smart people know better?

Most people know that this girl needs a sandwich! Which is quite comforting because now we know that people are smart enough to think that she is too thin.

Yet after saying that the model needs a sandwich, many participants still want to be AS THIN!

This wasn't exactly what I wanted to heard from people...

So what does my result really mean?

It means that men are equally vulnerable to social pressure, and it is affecting them more than ever because they were not used to being targeted before. It means that our social media may be making us hate ourselves, that we can't love ourselves for who we are. That many are prone to depression due to such issues.

There are still a lot we need to do to help ourselves and our children.

Just to summarise my study, there is only ONE similar research in Malaysia. So my study potentially has a great impact on the current psychological knowledge in the world HAHAHA!! Lemme perasan for a moment.

Secondly, my work is invited for journal publication!!! A lot more work is still needed to polish my research, but I feel so honoured that my effort is acknowledged! Can't get any better! Thank God!

Thirdly, thank you to everyone who has participated in my study. Remember, you helped me produce this unprecedented and pioneer great work!!! :)

Dad, Mum, Me

Sometimes we forget that as we grow, our parents grow old too.

It all starts when you realise that your dad stops giving you piggy-backs. You asked, "papa why won't you piggyback me?"

"Honey, you've grown so big so fast!" 

So you think Yes! I'm growing so big so fast!, you get ready for your first high school prom, you get your first drink, you get a driving license, you get your first drink-and-drive experience, you enter university, you meet the love of your life, you get married, and 10 years later, you realise that your dad is also growing so old so fast...

Do you remember the time when your dad smiles and you find one new line on his forehead? Do you remember the time when your mum starts getting desperate to buy the new anti-aging cosmetics? Do you remember the time when your dad can't stay up for the football matches at 2am anymore? Do you remember the time when your mum can't stand back up after squatting down to plant the flowers?

I remember. 

The first time I realise that my dad was growing old was when I was 12. My dad asked me to dye his hair for him because he grew some white hair recently.

He sat in front of the TV while I dyed his hair standing up. I remember that he wanted to tune into sports channel while I wanted National Geography. But because he's the dad and he wanna watch golf so I didn't say that I wanted to watch NG channel.

The hairdye session went fairly uneventful.

It wasn't until the next session when I realise that while I was busy growing my breasts and buying bras, my dad is growing old too.

During the 2nd hairdye session, which was probably half a year later, I noticed that dad had a lot more white hair near his temple, near his neck, and everywhere else on his scalp. Immediately, a stream of sourness down my throat. It wasn't a feeling of sadness. It was a mixture of the realisation that age is catching up, the feeling of why-cant-I-make-this-better, and the sense of why I haven't done my best for him.

Coming from a traditional Chinese family, I never learn how to express my love and concern. So despite feeling a little sad, I kept quiet.

Years passed by and each time I dye his hair, there'd be thinner hair at the crown of his head, more and more gray hair. Until recently, I try to keep myself away from papa on every weekend night so I won't get asked to help dye his hair and I can avoid the close sight of his thinning hair.

Even my mum who claims to have life-long black hair, starts showing some white strands 2 years ago.

Another thing that keeps me reminded that papa is growing old is the sound of him coming upstairs every night.

My dad has something weird with his right knee joint. So every time he walks against gravity, his knee is always making some "pop" sounds.

When I was young, every time I heard the pop pop sounds getting louder outside, I would know that he was coming upstairs. I would quickly hide in my blanket and pretend like I'm sleeping so I wouldn't get scolded. Or sometimes I would immediately get out of my bed to ask my dad tell me some bed time stories.

My dad is a super weird knowledgeable geek. While others' parents tell their kids about Snow White and Tarzan, my bedtime stories would be the history of Opium War and the inspiration and physic measurements of Twin Tower architecture. Or European's bulding concept. Or WWII on Japanese attacking Pearl Harbour. All of which have formed my curious personality and my hunger to travel and explore the world, which is good. But whenever I recall this I feel like punching my dad ahahahahah I mean wtf papa, I was 8 years old lololol wtf why can't you tell me about the flying Peter Pan?

The knee "pop, pop" sound used to be a rapid, regular wave of beats and rhythm when I was a child. As I grow old, I began sleeping at first at 11pm, then 12pm, then 1 or 2 am as the years go by. So when my dad walked upstairs, I would be somewhere else instead of waiting to get to bed.

Lately, I have been sleeping early again. So I began sitting by my bed while listening to my dad's knee pop sounds. Every night, I expect a rapid, regular stream of pop sounds outside my bedroom. But every night, the pop sounds seem to get slower, sometimes they even stop for about 10 seconds, before beginning to pop again.

I know papa can't walk up the stairs as quick as he used to anymore.

Which keeps me wondering... Papa, how many more years can I hear your popping knee sounds from outside my room?

How many more years?

It's been years since my birthday wish, CNY wish, wishes at temples are to pray for healthy and happy years ahead for my papa and mama. But all I do is to keep them happy, and watch the years fly by, and watch what time has done to their face and wrinkles.

Tell me again, how to be a doctor, when all I will be capable of, is just prolonging death?