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Body Image and Self Esteem

Written by Karl Perera BA, MA, DipLC
Updated: June 24th, 2020

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Body image affects how you feel about yourself and in particular, your appearance. It’s an important factor in self esteem for women, men, adolescents and children. The modern world glorifies the perfect body and if you’re a woman it’s difficult to be positive if you believe you are fat, ugly, too tall etc. This page focuses on the affects and what to do to improve your self-attitude and boost your self esteem.

Definition of Body Image

“The picture of our own body, which we form in our mind, that is to say, the way in which the body appears to ourselves.” (Schilder 1950, p.11)

Body Image and women

Self esteem in women these days seems dependent on how they think they look. Many women check the scales several times a day as if that will make a difference. This a form of obsession. Women are more unhappy with the appearance of their bodies than men (Grogan 2016).


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“I’m fat, short, skinny” – these are opinions you may hold and are most likely not true. However, I know people who are fat and happy and others who are slim and unhappy.

Guess what? Some men like large, some small, some thin and some tall. You don’t have to be thin to be attractive! Someone will like your appearance and if you have a good feeling about yourself even better!

Body image can help you because it is what you think about yourself rather than any judgement you make. It is easy to understand how this will affect your self esteem.

Your body is unique, enjoy it and love it. Focus on your good points. If someone likes you they will see the good and not the bad. Make yourself worthy of love and like yourself first.

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Body Image and men

Poor opinion of your body can cause you to have very low self esteem and self confidence.

Men worry about how tall, strong or big they are. The worst thing for men is probably being short. They believe the tall, dark, handsome myth. Most men will suffer low self esteem if they think they are short  or too thin. Like women these men can become obsessed.

According to Grogan (2016), many men want to be like society portrays the ideal man, slender and muscular. If someone thinks they are too skinny or too fat, or week looking, this can cause problems with body image and a resulting low level of self esteem.

Many women don’t like musclemen and even prefer shorter men. Sensitivity is a real plus. So you should forget the stereotypes and stop them controlling how you think about yourself.

Image and adolescents

Adolescents worry how they compare and appear to their friends and others. Looks and physical appearance are highly important! Teenagers want to look like the stars and pop idols they see on TV. These stars are not average looking people. Adolescents fall into the trap of believing that if they are not like these wonderfully attractive stars they are not worth anything.

Bad self image can be a killer! If people had confidence and liked themselves then eating disorders, bulemia and suicides would decrease.

Raise your self esteem

Recommended : Buy from

#1Body Image Workbook: An 8-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks
by Thomas F. Cash, Ph.D.

#2Feeling Good About the Way You Look
by Joni E. Johnston


Grogan, Sarah. Body Image, Taylor and Francis, 2016. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Schilder, P. (1950) The image and appearance of the human body , New York: International Universities Press.

Website Author and Editor Bio

Photo of Karl Perera, MA, DipLC Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA) and author of Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run since 1997 and is an expert in Self Esteem and Self Confidence.

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