Women And Body Image: Ten Disturbing Facts

by MomGrind

women-in-adsA real woman vs. a model. Photo credit: FaceMe

Deeply disturbing women and body image facts:

1. The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds. The photo above, although taken in the Netherlands, demonstrates this pretty well.

2. The average size of the “ideal” woman, as portrayed by models, has become progressively thinner over the years and has stabilized at around 20% below the average weight. This thin ideal is unachievable for most women. A 1995 study found that three minutes spent looking at models in a fashion magazine caused 70% of women to feel depressed, guilty, and ashamed.

models Models in New York. Photo credit: Christopher Peterson

3. It is estimated that 40-50% of American women are trying to lose weight at any point in time.

4. One out of every four college aged women has an eating disorder.

5. Almost half of all women smokers smoke because they see it as the best way to control their weight. Of these women, 25% will die of a disease caused by smoking.

models-fashion-showModels often smoke to control their appetite. Photo credit: styleserver

6. At age thirteen, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies.” This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.

7. In a sample of male and female high school students, girls had higher body dissatisfaction scores than boys on all measures. Girls reported magazines as their primary source of information regarding diet and health. Boys reported their parents as their primary source of information. These are the typical messages girls can expect to get from women’s magazines:


8. A majority of girls in a 1999 study (59 percent) reported dissatisfaction with their body shape, and 66 percent expressed a desire to lose weight. Only 29 percent of the girls were overweight.

9. At 5’9” tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 which is considered severely underweight. Because of her ridiculous proportions (39” bust, 18” waist, 33” thighs and a size 3 shoes!), if she was a real woman, she wouldn’t be able to walk upright – she would have to walk on all fours. Note that the target market for Barbie Doll sales are girls ages 3 to 12.

barbiePhoto credit: Angelina

10. Nearly 11.7 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed in the United States in 2007. Women had nearly 10.6 million cosmetic procedures, 91% percent of the total.

Sources: Cosmetic Surgery Statistics, National Institute On Media And Family, About Face, American Academy Of Pediatrics, Get Real Barbie Fact Sheet, Taft College

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