Body image may be defined as the way how a person actually feels about his or her body. Due to increased focus on looks in our society, body image issues are becoming very common particularly in women. In Australia, dissatisfaction with body has grown considerably during the last few decades and is currently considered as a major concern among teenage girls and women alike. The way a woman feels about the shape of her figure can be influenced by that which they hear and see in media and also how their family, friends and acquaintances treat them.
Feelings of discomfort with one’s shape of figure can also lead to eating disorders and severely affect self-esteem as well as relationships, self-medication, unhealthy patterns of exercise and self-harm. According to extensive research, almost half of the women among Kiwis are under the impression that they are overweight. Most of them obsess themselves over perceived imperfections, desperate ways of losing weight, spending hours grooming themselves and hating almost every part of their own frame. The discomforts can even cause a certain mental sickness known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which may cause a woman to believe objectively false things about her body.
People who do not suffer from such issues often tend to dismiss the victims. Body image is not a superficial problem. Issues with self-confidence can cause a myriad of other medical conditions, commonly eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Unfortunately, almost 10 per cent of the people struggling with such afflictions ultimately die. Depression is another associated problem.
There are several factors which can collectively cause one to develop negative feeling about one’s own shape of figure.
- Excessive exposure to media such as fashion mags, commercials, billboards, etc.
- Health problems
- History of trauma, abuse or eating disorder
- Sudden alterations in appearance, such as women gaining weight right after pregnancy
- Domestic violence
- Past mental illness