A person’s body image is a lot less about how their body looks than how they feel and think about it. The culture of our society combined with our personal experiences can play a large role in how our body image develops. This causes many to have a negative body image that can result in harmful repercussions to both our mental and physical health.
Much of our society’s messaging emphasizes being fit and thin. When our bodies don’t fit this mold, it can take a heavy toll on our mental health. And even when someone’s body does fit society’s idea of beauty, they may not be happy with it, either because they don’t see themselves accurately (body dysmorphia) or because their body doesn’t fit their gender identity (gender dysphoria). Societal pressure to conform to a certain image is all the more damaging to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, who already face prejudice and discrimination that can harm their mental health.