The Unrealistic Body Image That Targets Women
The Unrealistic Body Image That Targets Women
“Body image is the perception one has when looking at their image in the mirror or the image created in their mind. The image is based on the belief about one’s appearance connected to various assumptions; the memories one has and other generalizations about one’s body” as indicated in (“National Centre for Eating….” Para 1). The body image is also based on one’s feeling for their body based on their height weight, and their shape. Also, the body image is based on how people feel in their body and not just about their body. Unrealistic body image refers to the body types or appearance that women are obsessed with, but they can rarely attain them especially the ones presented on social media as the ideal body for a beautiful and admirable woman. Unrealistic body image (thin) could be based on images on social media, it could be based on the mental disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa, and self-perception after comparing one’s images to others.
Media is the platform that sensitizes people on the ideal body images that are attached to the value of attractiveness. For instance “in the USA more than 80 percent of Americans, watch television on a daily basis for at least three hours” as shown in (“Media, Body Image, and……” para 1). Media have always popularized thin body as the ideal image that is thought to be attractive. This could be responsible for the widespread dissatisfaction among women with their body image. The group is most affected include adolescents and especially young adults, and fewer children. “The strong effect on young adult women could be attributed to the long exposure on the media since childhood to adolescent and through adulthood” as shown in (“Media, Body Image, and…..” para 1). Fat women are always obsessed with thin bodies; the thin ideal has been made popular and fat women are unrealistic concerning their body images since they would like to appear thin as what they see on television. Once they are incapable of attaining the ideal thin body, they end up in depression and self- criticism, which is sometimes linked to suicidal behaviors. On advertisements, thin women are used, when talking about an ideal model thin women are used, and children grow up knowing thin is beautiful. They obsess over it, and constantly trying to attain it. Once they start their adolescent stage, self-image consciousness is initiated and the quest for the ideal thin body is started. Most of the models in the beauty industry are between age 14 and 19 years, which means they have not attained an entirely mature body for an ideal woman. Only a few women can genetically achieve the kind of body and shapes that are presented in the social media. “These shows how media has a significant contribution to the social construction of unrealistic body image” as indicated in (Grogan 74). These obsessions lead to other problems of mental disorders in the quest to attain the ideal body image for women.
The unrealistic body image could be the result of mental disorders like bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. “In bulimia nervosa, the victim has a distorted body image and is characterized by an over obsession to lose weight” as shown by (Cash and Timothy 490). The victim indulges in overeating episodes, and later they found it depressing and the urge to lose weight makes them induce vomiting, some will first, and purging. The emotional disorder, come as a result of the need to look thin. For anorexia nervosa, the victims are engaged in starvation to prevent gaining of weight in order to achieve the desired kind of a shape and body size. The victims do so to retain a very thin body that is entirely unhealthy. The victims are already thin, but the disorder distorts their perception on their weight and body size images. They tend to feel they are too fat which is actually opposite and hence avoid meals to ensure they keep their weight in check and attain ultimately a thin shape that the social media promote as the embodiment of beauty (Cash and Timothy 498). Both disorders lead to one yearning for unrealistic body image. The two disorders are common among women than men. Those victims are always influenced by media or the self- comparison with other women with bodies that are perceived to be beautiful. The perception makes them feel dissatisfied with their looks and hence tries to find a solution to their problems.
Self- perception after self -comparison with others could be a reason for women to suffer from the unrealistic body image due to anorexia nervosa. Most of these women suffering from this problem would have a perception that other women are attractive than they are, and so they recognize their body size and their shape as a failure. “They tend to feel ashamed and have a sense of lowered self -esteem and are ultimately uncomfortable with the kind of body and the size they have attained” as shown in (Cash and Edwin 111). The socially constructed thin body in association with thigh gap is common among the adolescents. Out of peer pressure, one may want to fit the definition of beauty by trying to have the thigh gap that is the unrealistic body image. The obsession over the thigh gap, involve activities such as dieting and intense physical exercise. The gap is found below the groin and between the inner thighs. The thigh gap is unrealistic, and only a few people can attain it naturally. For instance, People may have the right weight for their height and lack the thigh gap. This shows the idea about thigh gap is unrealistic, and girls seeking to be thin to attain it may engage in unhealthy behavior like dieting that may impact negatively on their health.
On the contrary, people with a clear perception of their body will understand what their body is and make an effort to correct any attributes they dislike. For instance, they would engage in physical exercise and taking the right diet (“National Centre for…. Para 30). In this context, a person gets to appreciate who they are and may not be victims of emotional disorders or any problem associated with unrealistic body image. Thin could also the realistic body image of women since most of the time; it related to healthy persons as compared to the fat persons. People working to be thin can be used to encourage people to embrace healthy lifestyles by making thin a realistic body image that women should have.
In conclusion, women have been victims of unrealistic body images and beauty have been associated with thin. Some of the reasons that contribute to unrealistic body image include social media, mental disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa, and self-perception after self- comparison with other. Thin would also not be unrealistic body image and can be attained relatively in consideration of people’s genetic makeup. Thin can be used to sensitize people about embracing healthy lifestyles through working out to be leaner than fatter. The unrealistic body image for women can be avoided by women accepting and appreciating the size and image of their body. Women should realize that they were created differently and hence can never have the same type of body or size.
Cash, Thomas F., and Edwin A. Deagle. “The nature and extent of body‐image disturbances in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa: A meta‐analysis.”International Journal of Eating Disorders 22.2 (1997): 107-126.
Cash, Thomas F., and Timothy A. Brown. “Body Image in Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa A Review of the Literature.” Behavior Modification 11.4 (1987): 487-521.
Grogan, Sarah. Body image: Understanding body dissatisfaction in men, women and children. Routledge, 2007.
“National Centre for Eating Disorders – Body Image.” National Centre for Eating Disorders. National Centre for Eating Disorders. Web. 21 Nov. 2015. <http://eating-disorders.org.uk/information/body-image/>.
“Media, Body Image, and Eating Disorders | National Eating Disorders Association.” Media, Body Image, and Eating Disorders | National Eating Disorders Association. National Eating Disorders Association. Web. 21 Nov. 2015. <https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/media-body-image-and-eating-disorders>.