Body image is the subjective sense we have of our appearance and the experience of our physical embodiment. It is built from memories that go back to our childhood. It is also influenced by wider social and cultural standards (viz. The media). In the west the message ‘thin is beautiful’ carries great power. The result is for women and even quite young girls to be very concerned with the shape and size of their bodies. It can also affect men, though not to the same extent. In this leaflet, we will be dealing with female body image, though some of it will apply to men.
Problems with body image
- Feelings and thoughts. If you have a very poor body image, you are likely to be preoccupied with some features of your appearance. You may wish for different looks, you may compare yourself constantly with others; you may always see yourself in a negative light. Your anxieties will intensify your thoughts and feelings.