Mirror, Mirror

by Lisa Brock

One of the biggest emotional and psychological problems plaguing the women of America today is the quest for the perfect body. We spend billions of dollars each year on diet programs, exercise equipment and miracle pills in an effort to achieve a more flawless physique. We pay millions more to plastic surgeons, attempting to fix the little "imperfections" we were created with.

Studies show that the great majority of women - more than 80 percent - would change something about their bodies if they could. From playing with perfectly proportioned Barbie dolls when we were young to flipping the pages of our favorite magazines and seeing the skin and bones models that grace the advertisements, social pressures have made most women feel self-conscious about their average bodies. We are inundated with images of slim, beautiful women as we watch television, drive past billboards in our cars and thumb through the catalogs we receive in our mailboxes. All this reinforcement of the idea that beauty is only skin deep has left most women with feelings of discontentment and disappointment about their own bodies. Most women feel they just don't measure up to today's standards of perfection.

Many women live much of their lives concerned about what they see when the look in the mirror. For most of them, these problems lead to minor turmoil, such as self-doubt, lower levels of confidence and an unrealistic body image. But in their more serious forms, these self-image difficulties can lead to severe depression, eating disorders, problems with intimacy in relationships and chronic health problems, complications from plastic surgery and poor dieting routines. And the cycle shows no sign of slowing. As the mothers of today teach their daughters how to become women, they pass along these same fears, anxieties and misconceptions, leaving the young women of today with the same feelings of inadequacy and failure.

Copyright 2002 Lisa Brock.