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Crystal Obed

WOST 2350
October 15, 2014
Research Paper: Body Image
With each generation the world brings new innovative ideas, concepts, and creations.
Innovations that change the way individuals think, act, and ponder about life. But why the issues
that revolve around women simply never change? From the worlds oldest profession, to the lack
of professional women in the workforce, women are at a constant battle with society and its
norms. Now it is evident that the battle field has taken place within the minds, hearts and
unfortunately the bodies of women everywhere. A perfect woman seems impossible to become
and yet if one is not trying to grasp such a transparent image, then one is not fulfilling their
female duties. Due to all the self-loathing problems surrounding womens body image, it is
imperative that women modify the methods of which they reflect upon themselves through a
positive approach rather than through dangerous condemnation.
Every decision has a consequence. Consequences can be just as good as they are bad, as any
decision can have a long term effects that potentially transforms the way people live their lives.
The decision to lose weight, eat healthy, and take care of one's body is considerably a notable
venture. The outcome come may include longevity and better overall fitness. Ironically such
dedication to losing weight can turn into an unhealthy obsession. Women are endlessly
discovering ways to lose weight, not for the sake of their health or general fitness, but rather due
to the lack of self-confidence within their body image. A psychological disease that carries on

from adolescence to, at times, death, the female desire to improve their body image is a major
In the article Body Objectification and Body Image: Exploring Feminist Women's Body
Consciousness Psychology of Women Quarterly researches are noted conducting a study on
young women who identified themselves as a feminist or womanists. In addition all of these
women were college graduates of some form of psychology or human-based study that allowed
their awareness of said topic to be extensive. Throughout the study these women were asked
several questions pertaining to their body consciousness and its reflection upon themselves and
society. Majority of the subjects were white, heterosexual, women but a small dosage of marked
categories (African-Americans, Latinas, and non-heterosexuals) were included as well. Overall
the study illustrated that despite these womens intellectual insight of problems surrounding the
women community of body image, they too fell succumbed to societal norms and experienced
difficulties within their own body image.
When asked what kinds of things make you aware of your body? Numerous women
discussed the horrid situations where their feminine assets were under constant comparison or
analysis that made the women feel extremely uncomfortable. Such subjecting occasions enforces
the ideas that women either have too much or are lacking of the necessary attributes to be
qualified as an acceptable and attractive woman. In the Pre- and Post-Race Beauty Tips from
Women's Health Magazine the images of endless exercise and facial improvements are just one
of the abundant amount of ways women constantly try to keep up with the increasing acclaim
requirements of beauty. As a student attending a University, I personally see the issues revolving
ones body image among both myself and my friends. I have notice that students are either in
complete awareness and concern with their image and attend the gym frequently in an attempt to

improve themselves, or they have little to no concern and simply live their life disregarding such
a strong collegiate norm.
It is safe to say that everyone has a few particular areas they wish they could transform for
the better. Whether it is a body builder who wants to increase his muscle weight, or a track
runner who wants stronger legs, the human mindset is never satisfied. Nevertheless, overweight
individuals tend to be at the top of the list for a need to change. What makes matters worse they
feel the pressures of an inadequate body image more than the average person. Unlike the women
who simply feel fat and are unhappy with their image, larger women are medically classified
as unhealthy and overweight resulting in lower confidence and esteem in life. The power that
society has on obese citizens is considerable as the concept of being fat has a negative
connotation with race, sexual orientation, gender and also in other forms such as the workplace
and in relationship affairs.
The Relationships of Body Image, Feminism and Sexual Orientation in College Women
Feminism & Psychology describes the method in which unmarked categories criticize heavy set
individuals most of which are directed at women. The privileges that bestow onto whites who
reap the benefits from meritocracy tend who have higher education, more pay, and thus more
time and money to spend at the gym or in hiring a personal trainer. The article also states that
ones political ideology also has a contributing factor to the way people feel towards larger body
types. Conservatives have a more unaccepting and an antifat attitude regarding over weights
comparatively than liberals who are can be less critical and less objective towards appearances.
Kate Bornsteins My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace
through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity has taught the power and effectiveness of being
comfortable within oneself. Her workbooks that utilize personal quizzes and test allowed me to

venture outside the standard box of black and white and see the many colors of my own
individuality. Life simply is not only about being a boy, girl, gay, straight, or even fat or fit there
so much more to it that society closes out for us but Bornstein tries her best to open it back up.
At one point in time a child will begin to understand that not everyone is equal. Both
socially and economically the world has his division that plays into the hands of societal
reasoning refer to as stereotypes. Stereotypes have a lingering effect on one's mind set as they
contribute to prejudices and discrimination without having any true social interactions. There is
no greater stereotype and then the ones that pertain to race. Racial divisions encompass a
substantial amount of problems but the few that surround being overweight are of less of a
concern in America. For example Caucasians tend to care more about weight related issues
compare to that of an African Americans. Weight loss advertisements tend to portray a fit, slim,
white woman as the ideal body type. Whether they are too skinny and need to tone up, or too fat
and needs to lose weight, white woman have more tribulation about "putting down the fork" than
black women do.
The book Our Bodies Ourselves for the New Century discusses the dissimilarities between
minorities and white majority in respects to body image. It is a well-known concept that some
races view a slim and thin structure as not only a healthier lifestyle but also an attractive one.
However that notion is, for most people, unrealistic in the minority mindsets point of view. The
authors mention how these more accepting women feel more comfortable and tolerant towards
their personal image and the regime of truth only applies to certain individuals rather than all
Americans. The Nigerian heritage I possess within my blood encompasses the concept of weight
and beauty as a positive correlation. My culture enjoy women of more curves, thus I can
understand why African American, who have African heritage within them as well, are left less

conflicted with weight gain as white people are. Other than obvious factors of weight related
diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, the African American community put less emphasis
on physical appearance in terms of weight as a of their Caucasian counterparts.
In the end the battle between our true selves and the way we perceive ourselves will always
be conflicted. Societys perspective should never be the key reason as to why women are
working out or dieting. The hatred that resides within women needs to come to a standstill.
Neither the educated nor the unschooled can rid themselves of the ideas behind body image. The
self-loathing can only rise from within as women everywhere must stand ground using their
black, white, skinny, fat, conservative, or liberal feet to withhold themselves as they fight against
the issue reacting to womens body image.

Works Cited/Bibliography

Ojerholm, Amy J and Rothblum, Esther D. The Relationships of Body Image, Feminism and Sexual

Orientation in College Women Feminism & Psychology. November 1999 9: 431-448

Rubin, Lisa R; Russo, Nancy Felipe; Nemeroff, Carol J. Research Articles - Body Objectification and
Body Image: Exploring Feminist Women's Body Consciousness Psychology of Women Quarterly.

March 2004 28: 27-37

Boston Women's Health Book Collective (Author). Our Bodies Ourselves for the New Century. May

4, 1998.
Bornstein, Kate. My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace

through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity. April 19th 2013

Percia, Jill (beauty editor for Women's Health Magazine). Pre- and Post-Race Beauty Tips from
Women's Health Magazine