Women struggle for satisfaction with themselves and their bodies much, if not all of their lives. While reasons for this struggle are varied, there are common factors in our society by which we are all affected. The perception of our bodies begins at a very early age in life.
Childhood messages about our bodies form the foundation of our body image later in life. Also, whether in magazines and advertisement or television and movies, we are constantly faced with images of thin, lean, beautiful women. The society in which we live shapes our attitudes of inadequacy and causes a struggle for beauty and acceptance.
Also, while athletes face similar issues surrounding body image, they face additional factors which sometimes categorize them at a higher risk for developing eating disorders. At any age and activity level, a woman’s body image determines her ability to build self-esteem and confidence.
In a society obsessed with weight control and thinness, there is much controversy about what is healthy and what is unhealthy for a woman’s body and her body image. There is no question, however, that excessive dieting, eating disorders, and learning to hate one’s own body are unhealthy ways of dealing with the problem.
Aside from the serious physical problems that can result from such behavior, women often discover that they pay more attention to trying to change their bodies than they do other, more important aspects of their lives.