Body Image and Standards of Beauty

Beauty, and how society defines it, has changed a lot over time. I think this is a really important fact to realize. We tend to have really specific ideas of the ideal body type and sometimes we don’t realize that those ideals can be largely influenced by society and the world around us.

In 2015 Amy Schumer posed naked for a collection of photos of successful women to be used in a calendar. The photo received lots of negative feedback including some major publishers describing her as being “brave” for having done the photoshoot. Some people may not have meant the “brave” comment in a negative way. It does take a lot of courage to pose nude, but the underlying communication seemed to be that she was brave for having posed nude as someone who does not fit the stereotypical ideals of beauty currently held by our society. All the fuss seemed to revolve around the fact that she has stomach rolls. I was inspired to write about this topic in my blog after something remarkable was pointed out by someone recently. Look at this side by side comparison of Amy Schumer’s nude photo and the sculpture of Aphrodite.

This comparison is a good example of the ways beauty standards are subjective and change over time. It’s important for people to accept their own bodies and own their own beauty. The standards portrayed in the media are ridiculous and cookie cutter. Peoples’ bodies vary in numerous ways and we are all beautiful in our own ways. The following video is a depiction of the ways standards of beauty for women have changed over the years.

Definitions of beauty also differ between cultures and regions of the world. The following is a depiction of differing standards of beauty for women across the world.

This video offers a similar depiction for standards of beauty for men across the world.

All of these images show just how varied standards of beauty can be. Often times in session, I hear clients say they are dissatisfied with their physical appearance for a variety of reasons, but often because it doesn’t conform to a particular standard of beauty. I often find it helpful to point out that these standards vary greatly, and change over time, but our feelings of needing to measure up to them don’t have to.

A better approach is to gain confidence and comfort with whatever physique we have, and to have positive self regard in all areas of life, including our physical bodies.

If you or someone you know struggles with poor self confidence, body image, or self esteem, consider seeking counseling to address these problems.

Joe Borders, MFT
Counseling and Therapy in Roseville and Sacramento
(530) 448-6602

1722 Professional Drive,
Sacramento, CA 95825
775 Sunrise Ave., suite 110
Roseville, Ca 95661
More about counseling and therapy with me

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