It’s Not Just a Woman’s Issue!
Q: What is Body Image?
Body image is the subjective picture of how our body looks and moves and how we think others perceive us. In
medicine and psychology, body image refers to a person's emotional attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of their own body, including height, weight and shape.
Q: What shapes our body image?
A: Our body image is
shaped by both positive and negative perceptions, emotions, and sensations. Cultural messages and popular standards of beauty – as portrayed through the media (TV, internet, magazines, etc.) can significantly influence our body image. Family and parental attitudes also influence our body image.
Q: What are the adverse consequences of negative body image?
: Over-concern with body image can have damaging effects on both our physical and mental health. According to the
NationalEating Disorders Association, poor body image is associated with an increased risk for developing an eating disorder, feelings of depression, isolation, poor self-esteem and a hyper-focused approach to weight loss. Additionally, negative body image can
increase feelings of anxiety and shame, and can lead to difficulty concentrating. Not only are the physical/mental/emotional consequences, but there are social ones too! When you feel bad about your body, you often don’t want others to see you at all, which can result in loss of friendships/relationships, job opportunities, and other socially negative effects.
Q: Isn’t body image a female problem?
A: Historically, body image dissatisfaction has been viewed as a women’s problem. However, is not the case, as both men and women experience issues pertaining to body image. Did you know that an estimated
50 million men worldwide have body image issues? Additional studies have found 21% to 47% of males diet as a means to increase weight and
Q: Why is positive body image important?
A: How we feel about our bodies greatly impact the amount of value and love we share with ourselves and others. Working towards having a positive body image will improve your self-esteem, self-acceptance, and health outlook for the future.
Q: What can I do to improve my body image?
A: Having a healthy body image is an achievable goal. Here are
some tips to help you get started:
- Focus on your positive qualities, skills, and talents
- Say positive things to yourself everyday
- Avoid self-talk that is berating or negative
- Focus on what your body CAN do and HAS done
- Set positive, health-related goals rather than weight-related goals
- Avoid making body comparisons to others
- Make a conscious decision about what to read and look at
- Talk positively about your body in your home and around others
Q: What role does the media play with body image issues?
A: The media (TV, magazines, movies, internet sources, etc.) promote a very narrow, specific version of ‘beauty’ and by being constantly exposed, men and women learn to internalize the same view of beauty. Not only does this contribute to how we see other people, but it also affects how we see ourselves. This is dangerous because the images in the media
havebeen altered (‘photoshopped’) drastically. In many cases, the celebrity is
nothinglike the image on the magazine cover, and the alterations are so severe that they are usually unrealistic. This creates an impossible standard that we are comparing ourselves to, which can only lead to poor body image and dissatisfaction with our bodies.
YouTube Video: TED Talk