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Showing posts from July, 2019

Men’s body dissatisfaction is serious: But we shouldn’t blame women for it

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(A version of this blog was first published in The Conversation.com under a Creative Commons license.)

'Body dissatisfaction' is extensively reported among men and it’s harmful. The research base compellingly shows this. It is related to clinical disorders (e.g., depression) but also, and more commonly, punishing gym routines, overly strict dieting, and repetitive anxious thoughts. For example, as participants in mine and colleagues’ focus groupstold me, body dissatisfaction can mean a waste of money: “you buy it, [try it and think it’s not flattering] and then you just never wear it’ (Peter), a waste of a good time: or “I would like [not have sex] and like my girlfriend would be like ‘Why? There’s no [reason].It’s not even a big deal’ like and I’d go like ‘oh it’s just me, I feel shit about [my stomach size]”’ (Gabriel) or even a waste of a promising career: “I used to be on a swimming team and now I don’t dare go into the pool anymore” (Nathan).
Are women to blame?Effective su…

Promoting Positive Body Image in Women Who Engage in Sport and Exercise

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Women who take part in sport and exercise tend to have more positive body image than other women (e.g. Hausenblas & Fallon, 2006). Positive body image in women who exercise has been linked with a number of factors including relatively greater focus on body performance rather than aesthetics, the fact that exercised bodies tend to be closer to the mainstream cultural ideal in terms of body fat levels and muscle tone, and psychosocial benefits of sport, such as autonomy and competence, that have been linked to more positive body image (e.g. Petrie & Greenleaf, 2012).
Although women who take part in sport and exercise tend to be more positive about their bodies than other women, this does not mean that they do not have body image concerns, and body image concerns have been reported in elite athletes as well as in women who exercise for recreation and general fitness. High-profile elite sportswomen women such as Rebecca Adlington have opened up discussions around women’s body imag…