Body Image

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by arinacolshatchi
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies

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Body Image

Current Physical Ideals Joan Brumberg, author of The Body Project, notes that the female ideal, and the pressure to achieve it, have become unrelenting. Not only are women encouraged to be thin, they are presented with a physical ideal that is diametrically opposed to the softness and curves more natural to the female body. The flip side of this experience is an ideal based upon exaggeration of male physiology. The authors of The Adonis Complex, state that hyper-muscularity has become increasingly important to men as a symbol of masculinity.

Body image is a widespread preoccupation. In one study of college students, 74.4% of the normal-weight women stated that they thought about their weight or appearance “all the time” or “frequently.” But the women weren’t alone; the study also found that 46% of the normal-weight men surveyed responded the same way.Encouragement to focus on appearance is at an all-time high in this culture, and with it comes the potential for a significant increase in negative body image. According to the authors of The Adonis Complex, “There’s often a vicious circle here: the more a person focuses on his body, the worse he tends to feel about how he looks – obsession breeds discontent.”

Body Image.

Why is body image is so important?

Why are so many people unhappy with their bodies?

Which factors affect body image?

What can we do to boost body image?

Talk back to the media. All media and messages are constructs – NOT reflections of reality. We can choose to use a filter that helps us to understand what an advertiser wants us to believe and then choose whether we want to believe that message. We can also talk back when we see an ad or hear a message that makes us feel bad about ourselves.De-emphasize numbers. Neither weight nor Body Mass Index tell us anything substantial about body composition and health. Eating habits, activity patterns, and other self-care choices are much more important. For a more complete discussion of healthy weight, see our page on Weight Concerns.Stay off of the scale. It’s really hard to cultivate an attitude of body acceptance and trust when you are basically climbing on the scale to ask if it’s OK to feel good about yourself that day. It is ALWAYS OK to feel good about yourself – don’t let a machine tell you any differently.

Body image, whether negative or positive, is shaped by a variety of factors:Comments from family, friends and others about our, their, and other people’s bodies, both positive and negativeIdeals that we develop about physical appearanceThe frequency with which we compare ourselves to othersExposure to images of idealized versus normal bodies


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