“Mirror Mirror On The Wall: Am I The Loveliest Of Them All?”

On February 28, 2014 (Friday) Dr. Kanika Khandelwal, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology conducted a body image workshop titled ‘Mirror Mirror on the Wall: Am I the Loveliest of Them All?’

“Mirror Mirror on the wall: Am I the loveliest of them all?”

Concern with physical appearance has always haunted womankind. After all, physical appearance is very influential in social relations and psychological functioning. The emphasis on physical appearance also stems from the belief in the ‘what is beautiful is good’ stereotype, whether it’s in fairy tales, stories, films or books, the good or the main character is almost always described as or shown to be beautiful. Body fat, in particular, has been criticized for producing unpleasant characteristics such as indolence, extravagance and carelessness, whereas thinness is associated with talent and success.

Society’s emphasis on good looks and expansion of media’s reach has become so possessed with the dissemination of the thin ideal beauty that it has led to body dissatisfaction in women getting worse. Body image, or the mental picture one has of his/her body, includes the attitudes, feelings, and perceptions about one’s body size, shape, and symmetry (Cash & Pruzinksky,1990). Body image is viewed as central to many aspects of human functioning, including emotions, thoughts, behaviours and relationships.

Body dissatisfaction, dieting, eating disorders and exercise disorders are especially prevalent among female university students worldwide. Many women have resorted to adopting health-damaging, body-image related behaviours. Excessive worry and preoccupation with one’s physical appearance has become a serious public health concern. Developing interventions to help women cope with their concerns ensuring that they are able to resist sociocultural pressures emphasizing thinness sans fitness, is the need of the hour.

The workshop will:

1. Define the thin-ideal and explore its origin

2. Examine the costs of pursuing this ideal

3. Talk more positively about our bodies

4. Explore ways to resist pressures to be thin

5. Discuss how to challenge our personal body-related concerns.

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