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PDCP 10. Body Image. What is Body Image?. How you perceive your body What you feel about that perception. Although your perception of your body can vary from day to day, or even from morning to afternoon, people tend to have a relatively stable view of their body.

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pdcp 10


Body Image

what is body image
What is Body Image?
  • How you perceive your body
  • What you feel about that perception.
  • Although your perception of your body can vary from day to day, or even from morning to afternoon, people tend to have a relatively stable view of their body.
  • The way you see your body is not necessarily similar to the way others view you.
  • We tend to be more critical of our own body than others are of us
  • Number 1 – 7 on looseleaf.
  • With regard to each number, write your first impressions regarding the person’s:
    • Happiness
    • Health
    • Intelligence
    • Attractiveness
    • Body Size/Shape
Make a list in your binders of what you think influences these perceptions or “first impressions.” What influences our body image?


  • We do not have a concept of our body image at birth; it develops over our lifetime.
  • We receive information daily about what is considered attractive and what is considered unattractive.
  • Each culture has its own ideals of beauty, which change over time and are transmitted to individuals through family, stories and media.
body images over time and culture
Body Images Over Time and Culture

On the following slides you will see how what is considered desirable with regard to body image changes over time and culture…



Lillian Russell

Actress and Sex symbol, early 20th century

Nicole Kidman

Actress and Sex symbol, 21st century

[ 6 ]



Babe Ruth

Pro baseball player, early 20th century

Barry Bonds

Pro baseball player, 21st century

[ 7 ]



King Henry VIII

16th century

President Bush

21st century

[ 9 ]



Miss America contestant


Miss America


[ 8 ]



American dancer


New Zeland dancers

performing Maori haka

[ 10 ]






Sumo Wrestlers

[ 11 ]

body image and gender
Body Image and Gender
  • Do you think that women and men, or boys and girls both struggle with having a positive body image?
  • Yes!
  • Male Body Image
  • Girls and Body Image
  • Media's Influence on Women's Image
the big question
The Big Question
  • What image might the videos create in the minds of women and men about what their bodies should look like?
  • When we feel like we do not meet the “norm” of what we see in the media, we develop a negative body image.
  • To compensate, men and women may take actions to change their natural body type to fit with what they think is “normal” and/or attractive.
  • The sad reality is that the image that many aspire to be is not even real!!! Dove Body Image Advertsing: Behind the beauty industry

“Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that media images of female beauty are unattainable for all but a very small number of women. Researchers generating a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions, for example, found that her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel. A real woman built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhea and eventually die from malnutrition.”

changing to fit the norm
Changing to Fit the NORM
  • What might men and women do to change their bodies to try and “fit” this unrealistic norm? Create a list in your notes.
  • Possible answers might include:
    • Steroid use
    • Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia
    • Compulsive Exercise
steroid use
Steroid Use

“Teens abusing steroids may suffer reduced sperm count, shrinking testicles, impotence and difficulty urinating. All of this intimately associated with the equipment most men value very highly. Teens on steroids also risk losing their hair and inappropriate breast development. One has to wonder how many takers there would be for steroids if these side effects were listed alongside the much-vaunted 'desirable' effects.”


Anorexia - People with anorexia are obsessed with being thin. They don't want to eat, and they are afraid of gaining weight. They may constantly worry about how many calories they take in or how much fat is in their food. They may take diet pills, laxatives or water pills to lose weight. They may exercise too much. Anorexics usually think they're fat even though they're very thin. People with anorexia may get so thin that they look like they're sick.

bulimia nervosa
Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is eating a lot of food at once (called bingeing), and then throwing up or using laxatives to remove the food from the body (called purging). After a binge, some bulimics fast (don't eat) or over exercise to keep from gaining weight. People with bulimia may also use water pills, laxatives or diet pills to "control" their weight. People with bulimia often try to hide their bingeing and purging. They may hide food for binges. Bulimics are usually close to normal weight, but their weight may go up and down.

compulsive exercise
Compulsive Exercise

If you are concerned about your own exercise habits or a friend's, ask yourself the following questions. Do you:

  • force yourself to exercise, even if you don't feel well?
  • prefer to exercise rather than being with friends?
  • become very upset if you miss a workout?
  • base the amount you exercise on how much you eat?
  • have trouble sitting still because you think you're not burning calories?
  • worry that you'll gain weight if you skip exercising for a day?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you or your

friend may have a problem.