Excerpts from recent empirically based papers…

Confidence is everything. In the Western society, some degree of body dissatisfaction rather than a beaming confidence has become the norm. Confidence and body dissatisfaction are like oil and vinegar; they just do not mix. Did you know that a woman’s size zero in U.S. clothing denotes possible anorexic behaviors? A body mass index (BMI) under normal levels is required in such a body size. A BMI under normal levels denotes starvation or other compensatory behaviors. Self-starvation and compensatory behaviors denotes an eating disorder.

In today’s society, it is more normal than abnormal to have body image concerns (Kiang & Harter, 2005). Women are more likely to be evaluated based on their appearance. A significant number of females see themselves as needing to be thinner to be optimally attractive (Koch, Mansfield, Thurau, & Carey, 2005). For some women, the fear of fat combined with a subsequent development of body dissatisfaction will cause extreme eating and dieting behaviors. Obsessive thinking, embarrassment, depression and feelings of guilt and disgust often accompany such behaviors (Yarber, Sayad, & Strong, 2010).

Negative evaluations from others can be fear-provoking. In eating disordered persons, this fear can create catastrophic beliefs regarding appearance, food and social interactions. Lack of self-worth is fueled by determinants of all-or-nothing thinking. A sense of immense failure, guilt, grief and shame can easily take over the disordered eaters mind (Lethbridge, Watson, Egan, Street & Nathan, 2011, in press).
Positive related feedback will sometimes be searched for elsewhere when it is not found in oneself, i.e. from a sexual partner. While this behavior is done as approval seeking behavior, it can also lead to perceived failure and guilt. Thus, feedback seeking behavior that does not produce positive responses may intensify eating disorder symptomology and the negative body image that goes along with it (Lethbridge, Watson, Egan, Street & Nathan, 2011, in press).

Because the media bears such a strong influential force, the body images portrayed become thee standard. This blatant display from media presents a great pressure to conform to the thin-ideal. “The adoption of a thin ideal body shape…has opened the door to the pursuit of thinness-at-all-costs attitude” (Williamson, Martin & Stewart, 2004, p. 1079). These pressures and displays are shown to significantly increase body dissatisfaction (Stice & Whitenton, 2002) and perfection-seeking behaviors (Lethbridge, Watson, Egan, Street & Nathan, 2011, in press). Because “cultural prejudice…is directed especially to women” (Haavio-Mannila & Purhonen, 2002, p.102), a growing number of young women strive for this societal-deemed “perfect” body standard (Tissot & Crowther, 2009).