Body image is a person’s perception of the aesthetic or sexual attractiveness of their own body. This phrase was coined by Paul Schilder in his book, The Image and Appearance of the Human Body. One’s body image can be shaped by many different factors, including factors such as a person’s personal experiences, personality, and social and cultural upbringing. Cultural ideals play a large role in one’s body image, and these ideals are very different in every country. People’s own body image tends to greatly differ from how others see their body. The sexualization of females has also increased anxiety related to body image. This anxiety can lead to a low body image, which in many cases can then lead to dieting, plastic reconstruction, and possible eating disorders. High beauty standards which are set by different media sources often create an unrealistic standard of what beauty is, and as a consequence often leads to lower body image for people who don’t fit that ideal.
Body consciousness is a term that goes hand in hand with low body image. This is often defined as feeling an undue awareness of oneself, one’s appearance, or one’s actions. Some emotions that are often related to body consciousness are those of guilt, shame, and embarrassment. This once again is mostly due to the impact of social media and body ideals. They create a low body image, which then increases one’s body consciousness. These two factors greatly influence one’s possibility of developing an eating disorder. These issues are largely affecting the population as a whole, and as a response, there have been many organizations created with the hope of encouraging body positivity and acceptance of all body types. Hopefully, this will one day lead to higher body images and lower self-consciousness.