Women and Body Image Perception

Source: Gualdi-Russo et al. (2022)

This study examined the differences in body image perception and ideals between genders. A sample of 960 Italian university students participated in the study, in which their anthropometric characteristics and body image perception were assessed. The results revealed that females expressed a higher level of dissatisfaction with their body image compared to males. While precise percentages were not measured, the study found that women experienced body image dissatisfaction to a higher degree than men. Notably, both sexes often misjudged what the opposite sex found attractive. However, women were more likely to make this misjudgment, underestimating the body size preferred by men by approximately 12%. This indicates that women believed men preferred a body that was 12% thinner than what men actually considered ideal. On the other hand, men had a more accurate perception of what women found attractive.

Moreover, the study identified several factors that influenced body dissatisfaction and misjudgment. These factors included anthropometric characteristics such as stature, waist circumference, percentage of body fat, and fat-free mass. Taller individuals and males were found to be less dissatisfied with their body image. Sports participation also played a significant role, with higher levels of sports engagement associated with lower levels of body dissatisfaction and improved perception of body image. Overall, this study emphasizes the importance of understanding body image perceptions and the influence of cultural and individual factors in order to promote realistic body ideals and enhance body image satisfaction.


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