Women's self image

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Women’s self image refers to a woman's self esteem and body image.


Self-image is one's conception of oneself or of one's role[1] Self-image is directly correlated with your self-esteem. The way a woman views herself often reflects how high her self-esteem may be. Expressions of self esteem usually start with the words I AM (e.g. "I am beautiful", "I am worthless", and "I am average"). The concept of self-esteem was researched by many sociologists and psychologists. Morris Rosenberg was one of these sociologists who held interest in this topic of self-development.[2] (see Rosenberg self-esteem scale).

Rosenberg viewed the self as a part of two elements. One being your identity, which represents cognitive variables. The other part of the self was self-esteem which is made of affective variables. The cognitive variable, or identity, involves perceiving and interpreting meaning. Rosenberg believed self-esteem to be the subjective life of a person full of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. He came to a conclusion that self-esteem is made up of two components as well: 1) feelings of self-worth based primarily on reflected appraisals, and 2) feelings of efficacy, based on observations of the effects of one’s own actions.[3] Also in his work Rosenberg created a survey which is supposed to measure your level of self-esteem with 10 questions.[4] Rosenberg paved the way for those who research self-esteem today.

Development of self image[edit]

We start to develop a sense of body image and esteem from birth. As we grow whomever we are surrounded with has a huge impact on how we see ourselves. Those interactions also affect how we react to life because of our perceptions of ourselves. It is crucial at a young age to be taught your worth because ultimately your self-esteem affects your behavior as we get older and start to learn how to socialize.[5]

According to the AAUW Study it is shown that between elementary and high school girls’ self-esteem drops tremendously each year. By high school girls aspirations, confidence and life goals are lower than that of a boys.[6] Because of the decline in self-esteem amongst young girls, adulthood is filled with doubts about oneself. That doubt leads to a different reaction to society and overall socialization as a young girl and as an adult. If a woman has gone through life feeling ugly, her behaviors will reflect that. Often, more than in earlier years, women decide to make a change to boost the self-esteem they always had the potential to obtain.

Plastic surgery[edit]

Plastic surgery is an evasive way to change your physical appearance whether it be for restoration or correctional purposes. Many women in modern society have been going through these surgical changes more than in the earlier generations. It seems as if plastic surgery is being used to compensate for the self-esteem issues younger women seem to be having.

There are many types of procedures a person could have done. Some of the more popular women get today in society are breast augmentation, lipoplasty, buttock augmentation, rhinoplasty, botulinum toxin, blepharoplasty and face lifts.[7] With all the considered variables, plastic surgery has become an epidemic especially in the female gender. Women seem to not mind a little nip and tuck all for the cost of beauty and a higher level of self-esteem.

Women and plastic surgery[edit]

Women today are doing some serious shopping. Not your average grocery store or mall visit, these women are now shopping for a better, “perfect”, improved body. Some may be in denial but as we look into these magazines, newspapers, commercials etc. we begin to subconsciously examine our body and wish we looked like he girl before our eyes. Many women do not realize that they shop constantly. As Virginia Blum steps into a beauty salon she scanned the room to see women’s faces lit with excitement after they see their hair and makeup looking like the model in the picture.[8]

It is very rare in media today that you see the true body type of American women being shown. All of the actors and models are better off seen fit then fat. In the article "No Barbie Doll",[9] Jamie Lee Curtis stands up and takes a photo shoot in her true light and says that her body is perfect the way it is. Oftentimes the media brainwashes women into believing that they are not good enough. This is where childhood and nurture comes into play.

Doctors, media, and society on a whole are making surgery seem natural. They persuade women to take the journey to change our bodies for the better, but they do not broadcast the pain that comes along with it. If the media were to show women all the needles used for each procedure, there would possibly be a drop in statistics. Kathryn Pauly Morgan wrote an article entitled "Women and the Knife: Cosmetic Surgery and the Colonization of Women's Bodies". She speaks on the process women go through in order to obtain the beauty they want so bad. In her article she provides these statements that would make you think you needed a little fix to be like the women who you admire like Madonna or Miss USA. She goes on to explain to women that it is not all fun and games under the knife.[10]


  1. ^ "Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. "http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/self-image (accessed April 27, 2014).
  2. ^ Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  3. ^ "Self-esteem research." Self-esteem research. http://www.self-esteem-international.org/content/5a-research.htm (accessed April 9, 2014).
  4. ^ http://www.wwnorton.com/college/psych/psychsci/media/rosenberg.htm
  5. ^ "Self Esteem." http://www.humanillnesses.com/Behavioral-Health-Sel-Vi/Self-Esteem.html (accessed April 1, 2014).
  6. ^ Mahaffy, Kimberly. "Girls' Low Self-Esteem: How Is It Related to Later Socioeconomic Achievements?." In Gender and Society. : Sage Publications, Inc., 2004. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4149404
  7. ^ "The Most Popular Cosmetic Procedures." Web MD. http://www.webmd.com/beauty/treatments/most-popular-cosmetic-procedures (accessed April 17, 2014).
  8. ^ Blum, Virginia. Becoming the Other Woman: The Psychic Drama of Cosmetic Surgery, Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 26, No. 2 (2005), pp. 104-131. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4137401
  9. ^ Ostrow, Melissa. "Jamie Lee Curtis: No Barbie Doll" Off Our Backs, Vol. 33, No. 3/4 (March–April 2003), p. 7. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20837774
  10. ^ Women and the Knife: Cosmetic Surgery and the Colonization of Women's Bodies. Kathryn Pauly Morgan Hypatia, Vol. 6, No. 3, Feminism and the Body (Autumn, 1991), pp. 25-53 Published by: Wiley on behalf of Hypatia, Inc. Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3809838