Women struggle for satisfaction with themselves and their bodies much, if not all of their lives. While the reasons for this struggle are varied there are common factors, which affect most woman. Whether in magazines and advertisements, or television and movies, we are constantly faced with images of thin, lean, beautiful women.
It is no surprise that many women are preoccupied with body image. According to one American study, approximately 80-90 percent of women dislike their bodies.
Body image is an individual's perception of his/her physical self. It is the mental picture a person has of their body, as well as the individual's associated thoughts, feelings, judgments, sensations, awareness and behavior towards thier body. Body image is not a static concept. It is developed through interactions with others and the social world.
Thus, what society holds up as ideal is often what women strive for. Preferences for body shape vary over time and among all cultures. Historically, most societies have associated extra weight in women with desirable social status -- an overt sign of wealth when food was not abundant. "Rubenesque" women were considered the epitome of femininity and beauty.
Because women today are inundated with beautiful faces and "perfect" bodies, we must strive to maintain a realistic and healthy body image. A healthy body image is evident when a person's mental picture of her body is accurate, and her feelings, assessment and relationship toward her body are positive, confident and self-caring.
Healthy body image is more than the absence of struggles around food, weight or appearance. It is having the support and resources necessary to: 1) care for the body; 2) find outlets for self-expression; 3) develop confidence in one's physical abilities and capacities; and 4) develop a positive self-concept.
Women today have resources to help them resist negative environmental messages, the most important being education and the awareness that we are all unique individuals. Good nutrition and regular exercise help to keep us both physically and mentally fit, as well as promotes a healthy body image. And sometimes-cosmetic surgery is appropriate to help women feel better about their bodies and looks in general.
Women who already have a healthy body image and desire to enhance, but not change their appearance, will generally benefit the most from cosmetic surgery. Striving for improvement -- not perfection -- is the key. Women who have realistic expectations can greatly improve their body image with appropriate cosmetic surgery. Of course, before having any cosmetic surgery, you should discuss any questions or concerns, as well as your expectations, with your surgeon.
— by Diane Gibby • M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S
About Dr. Gibby
Diane Gibby, M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S Licensed in Texas, Dr. Diane Gibby is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the founder of The Women's Center for Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery. She is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), American Medical Association (AMA), Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons (TSPS), Dallas County Medical Society (DCMS) and the Board Certified Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons of Dallas. She is also a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons (F.A.C.S.). Dr. Gibby's office is located at Medical City Dallas, Building C, Suite 820, (972) 566-6323. Individuals interestedin brochures or names of qualified plastic surgeons in their area may call the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons at 1-800-635-0635.