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Body image refers to a person’s self-perception of his or her body type and body size.
Women may also overexercise in an effort to obtain the ideal body size.
A woman suffering from anorexia nervosa can achieve an overly thin body size by excessively exercising and undereating.
This image is sometimes in keeping with the reality of a person’s body size but often quite disparate from that actuality.
When a disconnect exists between perceived and actual body size, harmful eating and dieting behaviors can ensue. In the 1940s and 1950s, predominantly full-bodied women and tall, dark-haired men were seen as the most attractive.
This leads to an overabundance of popular images of thin women.
The media images of thin women, combined with the increased attention to health concerns regarding weight, result in an increase in women engaging in extreme measures to become or stay thin.
Gender differences in body image are the focus of much social science research, which consistently shows that compared with men and boys, women and girls are more susceptible to poor body images and the problems associated with a poor self-image.
Women are far more likely to be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.