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Male And Female Body Ideals And Image

1135 words - 5 pages

Body image is defined as “the subjective image of one’s physical appearance established both by self-observation and observation by others” ("Body Image"). “Ideal” body image is constantly re-evaluated throughout the ages. Unfortunately, today, the ideal image is at its height in the American culture. Many factors, such as magazine articles, television shows, and even childhood toys are said to have an influence on body dissatisfaction. This negative self-image has caused many dangerous disorders in women and men of all ages. In the research of this topic, there are many questions of body image among cultures and stereotypes that are yet to be answered.
Today, the ideal physical image is ...view middle of the document...

The body dissatisfaction of much of the American population has led to extremely unhealthy habits in order to restore self-esteem. Children as young as 9 years-old say dieting makes them feel better about themselves (“Dissatisfaction”). Numerous mental and eating disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa, have become common. BN includes habits like vomiting, intense exercising, and fasting (“Dissatisfaction”). In 2006, America was ranked first in percentage of anorexic women and second in percentage of bulimia nervosa (Soh, Touyz, and Surgenor 54-65). Overall, the internalization of negative self-esteem causes anxiety, frustration, and depression.
I am very interested in conducting my first research study on the topic of body image. Although, according to Claire Sterk, I learned that asking for personal information and opinions from people is not as easy as it seems (Sterk 24-29). Sterk had to work on knowing her participants on a personal level in order to gain their trust. She had to allow them time to realize that she is professional and, as part of her research, she would keep their information confidential. This made me wonder whether friends or strangers would be best for me to interview. My friends already trust me, but would they take me as a professional? With strangers, I don’t believe I would have this difficulty.
In the American culture, it would not be challenging to find someone familiar with body ideals. The interview would take place in a private setting. I would first try to make my interviewee comfortable with conversation, similar to Sterk, and then brief them on the subject I am going to address (Sterk 24-29). Most importantly, I would be supportive of the interviewee’s opinions, I would remain nonjudgmental, and I would not retaliate with my own opinions during the interview.
I would start my interview in asking what the participant’s opinion of the ideal body image is. This is important because, since each answer would be unique, I could conclude whether the body image is collective in American culture, or if it differs from person to person. Their answer might include biological aspects, such as height and weight in the appearance; or they could mention any material items, such as clothing brands or types of makeup. Then, I would ask where they think the ideal body image is decided. In their opinion, what are the...

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