What do you think you look like? Body image is the mental representation one creates, but it may or may not bear close relation to how others actually see you. Body image is subject to all kinds of distortion from internal elements like our emotions, moods, early experiences, attitudes of our parents, and much more. Nevertheless, it strongly influences behavior. Preoccupation with and distortions of body image are widespread among American women (and, to a lesser extent, among males), but they are driving forces in eating disorders, feeding severe anxiety than can be assuaged only by dieting.

Recent posts on Body Image

Excessive Tattooing on Film

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on May 25, 2017 in In Excess
Excessive tattooing has been central to many storylines featured in films. This article takes a brief look at the psychological themes of the tattoo obsessives in some of the films
Witthaya Phonsawat/123RF

Can Dogs Help Solve Our Childhood Obesity Problem?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on May 23, 2017 in Animals and Us
What should we make of claims about the impact of dogs on obesity in children and teenagers?
Unsplash/CC0

A Gift from Mothers to Daughters

By Renee Engeln Ph.D. on May 22, 2017 in Beauty Sick
The messages we hear about women and beauty make it hard to have healthy attitudes toward our bodies. But we can make certain those messages stop at our own front door.
Inner City Books, used with permission

Jungian Analyst Marion Woodman on the American Psyche

By Pythia Peay on May 18, 2017 in America On The Couch
Your ancestors went through the anguish of breaking with their mother country [Britain], even fighting and killing the soldiers of “the mother.” Marion Woodman

Trading in Celiac Disease for an Eating Disorder

The billion dollar "gluten-free" diet fad may be causing more harm to your mental health than you realize as we trade in gluten in exchange for disordered eating.

How does Our Body Change as We Age? (Part 1)

Is normal aging really as benign as we think? Yes it is.

Claire Dederer Talks About Love & Trouble

By Jennifer Haupt on May 12, 2017 in One True Thing
"...I went through old journals and letters and photos, revisiting my younger self. I won’t pretend it wasn’t excruciating, but that research really did inform the whole book."

What’s So Sexy About Belly Buttons?

Academic journals examining the psychological and sexual aspects of the navel are almost nonexistent. But Wikipedia’s extensive, even scholarly, coverage fills this gap.

Forgiveness Part 1

Beginning at the age of ten, Monica was frequently sexually assaulted for a period of more than six years. The assailant was her father.

Is Anorexia the Latest Treatment for Obesity?

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on April 27, 2017 in Eating Mindfully
Is it possible that a mental illness holds the secret to treating obesity? That’s what some leading eating disorder experts propose.

A Semi-Parody One Item Personality Test

What is the opposite of eating?
shock/BigStock

What Is Dance Movement Therapy?

The same endorphins that make you feel better when moving also help you concentrate, sleep better, have more energy, and deal with mental and emotional challenges in life.

What Do the Latest Plastic Surgery Statistics Say About Us?

In 2016, Americans spent more money on elective plastic surgery and non-invasive cosmetic treatments than at any other time in our nation's history. What exactly are we "fixing"?

The Real Sex Lives of Men Over 65

By Michael Castleman M.A. on March 31, 2017 in All About Sex
By 65, most erections are history, but with semi-firm or even completely flaccid penises, older men can still enjoy great, orgasmic sex.

Is There Feminine Muscularity?

By Pirkko Markula Ph.D. on March 29, 2017 in Fit Femininity
Is sculpting a muscular body feminine? There are several options for women to display visible muscularity.

5 Ways Self-Compassion Promotes a Healthy Body Image

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on March 22, 2017 in In Love and War
Many people are overly critical of their appearance. If you're one of them, self-compassion might help.
Kristen Fuller

Eating Disorders: It’s Not All About Food

We often think if we lose those ten pounds, gain muscle or adopt that healthy skin glow then we will feel better to only soon realize our self-esteem is still in the gutter.

A Nose Away From Beautiful

Besides its critical function in smell and breathing, the cartilaginous protrusion we call nose has long been crucial in considerations of human beauty. How could this not be so?

Six Signs to Assess an Eating Disorder

Understanding the signs of an eating disorder diagnoses can help you take life-saving measures.

Should We Focus on a Women’s Weight During Pregnancy?

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on March 11, 2017 in Eating Mindfully
The irony of weight-focused care is that the more preoccupied we become with trying to control our weight, the more out-of-control it often becomes.

Male Body Image and Neckties: What's the Relationship?

What a man's necktie says about his personality may not be exactly what you'd expect. Research on the male body image sheds light on this part of a man's clothing selections.

The Big Myth That Losing Weight Will Extend Your Life

Losing weight can be hazardous to your health.

Call Children’s Private Body Parts What They Are

Children who know the correct names for their genitals feel better about their bodies, and have an important protection against molesters.

A Parent’s Guide to Surviving Spring Break

By Deborah J. Cohan, Ph.D. on March 05, 2017 in Social Lights
12 suggestions from a college professor

Why Successful Women Gravitate Toward Younger Men

By Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D. on March 04, 2017 in Me Before We
If you’re a successful woman who gravitates toward younger men, it may be because you appreciate the non-defensive willingness to absorb what you can provide.

Why Women Want to Lose Weight

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on March 02, 2017 in The Human Beast
In subsistence societies, heavier women are perceived as fertile and sexually attractive. In developed countries, women strive to be more slender. Why?

3 Myths About Men and Eating Disorders

Not an #AlternativeFact. Men do struggle with eating disorders
Andrey Arkusha/Shutterstock

How to Stop Criticizing Your Appearance

By Tara Well Ph.D. on February 21, 2017 in The Clarity
Feeling critical when you look in the mirror? Try this to become more accepting.
Chuttersnap/stocksnap.io

How New Year's Resolutions Succeed or Fail

Why change is so hard and why it doesn't have to be.

Are Men With Tattoos More Attractive?

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on February 14, 2017 in Attraction, Evolved
Why do men get tattoos? New research suggests that getting 'inked' makes a man appear more healthy.