This is a mental picture of one’s physical body – size, shape, and appearance. It’s a person’s attitude toward their physical self (physique) – such as thoughts, feelings and beliefs about their body. Body image can be influenced by a number of social factors, such as culture, the media, age, gender and interactions with family and friends.
TYPES OF BODY IMAGE
Most individuals experience different degrees of positive and negative feelings about their bodies at different times.
POSITIVE BODY IMAGE
A person is said to have a positive body image when the perceived imperfections do not create significant anxiety and have little impact on his/her overall sense of self -i.e. Individuals who accept their bodies without dwelling on perceived flaws can be said to have a generally positive body image.
“Healthy body image means you are comfortable with the body you have. It does not mean you think your body is perfect, rather, that you accept it and commit to loving and caring for it.”
Women with a positive body image are more likely to have good physical and mental health.
NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE
Most people have experienced the desire to modify some aspect of their appearance. They may dislike the color of their hair, the size of their nose, or the presence of a scar. A negative or unhealthy body image involves a preoccupation with one’s perceived flaws. Individuals may experience shame and shyness or even disgust around their appearance. Some may go to unusual lengths to alter or hide their bodies, even at the expense of their own well-being.
Girls and women with negative thoughts and feelings about their bodies are more likely to develop certain mental health conditions, such as eating disorders and depression.
A negative body image may also lead to low self-esteem, which can affect many areas of your life. You may not want to be around other people or may obsess constantly about what you eat or how much you exercise.
CAUSES OF NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE
Past events , lifestyle and circumstances can cause a person to have a negative body image, they include:
- Being teased or bullied as a child for your physique
- Being told you’re ugly, too fat, or too thin or having other aspects of your appearance criticized
- Seeing images or messages in the media (including social media) that make you feel bad about how you look
- Having underweight, overweight, or obesity
In rare cases, people can have such a distorted view of their bodies that they have a mental health condition called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). BDD is a serious illness in which a person is preoccupied with minor or imaginary physical flaws.
A negative or unhealthy body image can contribute to low self-esteem and cause persistent anxiety. In extreme cases, it can interfere with a person’s daily well-being.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT BODY IMAGE
- Self esteem
- Social media
Men & Women who have obesity are more likely to have a negative body image, but not all women who have obesity or overweight are dissatisfied with their bodies. Women with a healthy weight can also have a negative body image, although obesity can make a woman’s negative body image more severe.
Body Weight is not the only part of a person that determines body image. Self-esteem, daily habits such as grooming, and the particular shape of your body all contribute to body image. Weight is an important part of body image, but it is not the only part. Women who have underweight due to a health condition like an eating disorder, cancer, or Crohn’s disease may have a negative body image due to the effects of their condition. Also, those who have underweight without another health condition may also have a negative body image if others comment negatively on their weight or express other negative attitudes.
WOMEN & BODY IMAGE – Around 80% of women in world are dissatisfied with their bodies. This is because Women tend to report greater concern about the following-
- Facial features,
- Body shape,
- Thighs, and buttocks
MEN & BODY IMAGE- 34% of the men population, have low body image. They are generally more concerned about the following-
- Muscle definition,
- Signs of thinning hair (baldness)
Although the media often places more emphasis on the ideal female form, an increasing number of ads and images also feature what is considered an ideal male physique. Interestingly, this heightened focus on standards of male attractiveness coincides with an increase in the number of men who experience negative body image. Men have also opted to modify their features with cosmetic surgery in greater numbers than they have in the past.
SELF-ESTEEM & BODY IMAGE
Self-esteem is a distinct concept. It relates to one’s view of ones-self as a whole. Self-esteem involves an evaluation of one’s overall worth and is generally not limited to the physical body. Nevertheless, the way people think and feel about their bodies is often strongly connected to their overall view of themselves in totality.
Higher self-esteem is linked to a more positive body image. Meanwhile lower self-esteem is associated with a more negative body image. The unwanted self-criticism that comes with poor self-esteem can lower body image. Likewise, a negative body image might distract people from other personal strengths, leading to low self-esteem.
Despite the strong association between self-esteem and body image, a decline in one’s body image does not necessarily produce a corresponding change in self-esteem.
QUALITIES THAT BOOST SELF – ESTEEM
There are special qualities a person possess as an entity that they can think on and boost their self-esteem……..yess!!!! There are good things about you as a person, and you really should stop overlooking, start paying close attention, and be totally appreciative about.
- Your fabulous personality
- Your talents and gifts
- Your smile
- Your attitude
- Your contribution to your community
- Your tradition, culture & heritage.
When you have a number of different things that you value about yourself, your view of yourself will also be more stable, steady, and solid.
EFFECTS OF MEDIA ON BODY IMAGE
This is chiefly the reason why most people have the issue of body image. They are totally moved and greatly affected by what they see and hear. Research has linked social media use to body image dissatisfaction across all generations and genders. Even short periods of use (presence on social media) can have an effect.
Television, advertisements, social media influencers, and other media all have a powerful impact on how people regard their bodies. Most times, “You only have to turn on the TV for few minutes to hear the message that if you look a certain way, you too can have that ravishly handsome-looking partner drooling over you, or that perfect dream job. In fact, all you have to do is buy the advertised beauty product, get the right hair, attain the correct weight, and all the love, success, bodily perfection and attention you desire will follow”
These messages are totally harmful because the standards of physical attractiveness portrayed by the media may not be attainable by everyone. For example – The media focuses on showing women who are thin, attractive, and young, without in most cases giving out possible hint to their viewers or audience that Images of the women showcased are often edited using high end computer technology. As a result, girls and young women often try to reach beauty and body ideals that do not exist in the real world, thus making them embark on cosmetic surgery journey that involves costly procedures, so as to attain perfection.
Although, Social media platforms by themselves do not cause poor body image, instead, it’s the ease with which people take to comparison between their physical appearance and features with that of others that can be damaging. Most individuals only see their friends’ most flattering (heavily filtered) photos on social media, but they see their own, unfiltered appearance every day. Some people then conclude that they are the only ones with skin blemishes or stomach rolls, when in fact these are present in many.
AGE & BODY IMAGE
In general, body satisfaction is lowest between ages 12 and 15, when puberty causes both physical and emotional changes. Girls and boys tend to have similar body image until ages 12, after which girl’s self-evaluations drop.
Are you struggling to come to terms with your physical appearance and it’s getting you down or driving you crazy ???? have a chat with a health-care professional who can help you to manage your feelings.
Hope this article was helpful & Informative – Thank you for Reading
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