Opinions of what is the “perfect” female physique are linked to body image dissatisfaction among women. The media exposes women to body ideals and the value placed on being attractive. Such standards of beauty are almost completely unattainable for most women. Standards of beauty also cause bad eating behaviors and beliefs about how their bodies should look. These problems are closely related to most females because most of us are more than occasionally faced with insecurities about our bodies. This topic is important because it exposes our insecurities and encourages people not to judge a woman by her body. The topic also helps females know they are not alone. Everyone needs to become more aware that judging a female by her looks, specifically her body, has major negative effects on all women.
Body image is closely linked to self-esteem. Low self-esteem in women can lead to not only eating disorders, but early sexual activity, substance use, suicidal thoughts, and extreme plastic surgery. Body image disturbance appears to be stronger among young women, rather than children or adolescents. This may suggest that long-term exposure during childhood and adolescence lays the foundation for the negative effects of media during early adulthood. Females’ concerns with their physical appearance is labeled as normal discontent, implying that body dissatisfaction affects almost all women at some level. This is true. Body image becomes a major issue as females go through puberty. We become more aware of our body as it changes and body image starts to affect us. In a study of college students at Brown University, 74.4% of normal weight women stated they thought about their weight or appearance “all the time” or “frequently.” (Sachdeva) This is example of how body image affects women and how frequently they feel insecure.
Negative body image includes feelings of awkwardness and anxiety about the body. People with negative body image tend to feel that their size or shape exhibits personal failure, and link a “better body” to higher worth. Poor body image is also linked to diminished mental performance, depression, and sexual dysfunction. Positive body image includes having a realistic perception of our bodies and enjoying them just as they are. Positive body image also contributes to a healthy mind in knowing that attractive bodies come in all shapes and sizes and physical appearance says very little about our character or value as a person. “Healthy body image contributes to our bodies being separate from our self-esteem, and we don’t spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about maintaining “the perfect body.” People are at higher risk to display disturbed body image if they hold dysfunctional beliefs and about their physical appearance. “One's evaluation of themselves and their appearance can have a powerful impact on a person's development and social experiences.” Holding women to such higher standards in appearance should be reduced as a society.