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Thursday, September 28, 2023


Speaker stresses value of positive body image

Female body shapes play a large role in the way women perceive themselves as well as how others see them, UH career counselor Marilyn Wade said Tuesday at the Women’s Resource Center.

Women, however, can take charge and change the way they view themselves and how others view them, Wade said.

"Just because a store might carry a certain trend or carry a certain type of clothing, know what your body type is and know what works for you," she said.

The role of the female body shape has far-reaching effects in determining such things as a woman’s status, her exercise routine and the clothes she wears, Wade said.

"Every time you walk outside of your door, every time you step foot into your classes, every time you step foot into your professor’s office to talk about a paper you’re projecting an image and people will automatically get an idea of you based on a 10-minute or 10-second presentation," Wade said.

Women in the U.S. are under pressure to measure up to a certain social and cultural ideal of beauty, Wade said, which can lead to poor body image.

"It is funny how women are becoming so thin and wanting to look model perfect," education junior Jana Smith said. "If you want to be that ideal weight, eat healthy and exercise."

Over the years, women with a perfect hourglass figure have been sought after.

Certain industries, such as entertainment and fashion, tend to fixate on women who have the perfect body weight and body shape, Wade said.

Not only have these industries searched for the perfect hourglass shape, women have desperately attempted to achieve it, she said.

"It is important that women look at themselves for who they are and capitalize on that," Gloria Smith, assistant to the WRC director, said.

A positive or healthy body image gives a woman a real perception of her size and shape, and ultimately allows her to feel more comfortable with her body, Wade said.

"Basically, a positive attitude speaks volumes and that can speak through your body language," Wade said.

With a negative body image, a woman has a distorted perception of her shape and size, compares her body to others and feels shame and anxiety about her body.

An unhealthy body image can affect how a woman sees herself, she said. A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, dieting, anxiety, depression and eating disorders, Wade said.

Developing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial to a woman’s happiness and wellness, she said.

"Know yourself," Wade said. "Know what works for you."

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