The Importance Of Body Dissatisfaction

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Body dissatisfaction is so common among women that it is considered a normative female experience (Knobloch-Westerwick & Crane, 2012). Nearly half of American women experience poor body image (Peterson, Tantleff-Dunn, & Bedwell, 2006). Not only does body dissatisfaction prompt women to attempt to control their weight and shape through dieting (Groesz, Levine, & Murnen, 2002), but it is strongly correlated with eating disorder symptoms (Peterson et al., 2006). Furthermore, body dissatisfaction has been associated with psychological issues such as depression, sexual dysfunction, social anxiety and suicidal behavior (Myers, Ridolfi, Crowther, & Ciesla, 2012). With so many women affected by body dissatisfaction and the associated risks being …show more content…
Contrary to the social comparison theory, which states that individuals typically seek to make social comparisons that will help them view themselves in a more favorable light, women continually compare their own bodies with unrealistic thin images (Myers et al., 2012). Levi-AriLev-Ari et al. (2014) found that women do not participate in social comparisons in order to maintain positive self-esteem, but instead choose thinner comparison figures, thus participating in their own objectification. Body specific upward social comparisons can leave women feeling negative about their own appearance, ashamed and ugly (Rubin et al., 2004). Myers et al. (2007) anticipated that women with higher levels of feminist beliefs would experience less body disturbance as a result of upward appearance based social comparisons. In addition to completing questionnaires to measure their body image and feminist attitudes, the participants of their study made diary entries reporting how often they made social comparisons, their level of body image disturbance and any behaviors of body checking. The results of this study indicated that all women, regardless of feminist beliefs, experience body disturbance due to upward appearance based social comparisons, but that those with lower levels of feminist beliefs experience lower general body satisfaction and exhibit more body …show more content…
Participants were measured on their feminist beliefs and body image at the time the study was conducted and that data was used to measure correlations. Conclusions about the relationships between feminism and body image were then drawn from those correlations. In order to develop a feminist theory-based body image disturbance intervention program, researchers at the University of Central Florida compared the self-reported body image satisfaction of women exposed to explicit feminist behavior to that of women exposed to psychoeducational intervention and women in a control group who were exposed to nothing at all. The results of this study indicated that the participants who were exposed to the feminist theory intervention were both more likely to report an increase in feminist identity and an increase in physical appearance satisfaction. Increases in feminist identity were significantly correlated with healthy body image while decreases in adherence to traditional gender roles (which are contrary to feminist ideologies) were associated with decreases in anxiety about appearance (Peterson et al., 2006). One limitation of this study is the time frame during which it was conducted. The initial measurements of feminist identity and body image were taken two weeks before the experiment itself. The follow

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