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Body Image

  • By: Gina Wong-Wylie
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Much has been written in the area of body image in pregnancy and postpartum. A person's body image is comprised of a multidimensional mélange of feelings and perceptions of their own body-filtered and reflected through sociocultural prescriptions of the ideal body size and shape. Body image fluctuates and is regulated by global self-esteem (the totality of thoughts and emotions regarding oneself). Societal prescriptions of size and beauty are intricately tied to global self-esteem. In fact, decades of research demonstrates a significant overlap between body image and self-image. In essence, body esteem arises out of a multidimensional experience, in which females compare their appearance against personal and social standards within their environment. Sanctioned by external forces and saturated with a barrage of the ultra-thin female body ...

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