We all know that women are bombarded with unrealistic body images on a daily basis and that one conversation guaranteed to get every woman going is listing what’s wrong with their bodies! Never mind the ‘does my bum look big in this’, if you stood for just ten minutes in a women’s changing cubicle you’d hear plenty of wails about our bodies. ‘I hate my arms’ ‘I wish I was taller/younger/thinner/had better skin/shapely calves or thin ankles/’etc.
Knowing it , however, does not seem to stop any of us doing it, however stupid and daft we may know it to be.
Research shows (Professor Nichola Rumsey and Dr Diana Harcourt) that women’s body image is an accumulation of a lifetime’s associations, neuroses and desires. At age 5 children begin to understand other people’s judgement of them; at 7 they are beginning to show body disatisfaction. As adults 90% of British women feel body image anxiety. And this anxiety about how we look doesn’t stop with many women over 80 still feeling anxious (not interested but actually anxious) about how their bodies look.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom has made a documentary called Miss Representation which backs up this research. Her documentary is about the under-representation of women in power-women who are high ‘self objectifiers‘ have low political power. They’re less likely to run in politics, and less likely to vote. How they look is not necessarily holding them back, but how they feel about they look.
It’s a massively complicated issue but ask yourself this one question:
“Have my feelings about what other people will think of my appearance stopped me doing something I wanted to?”
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Posted on June 12th, 2012 by Jane