Body image

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What is it that makes Venus a hottie? Is it her hip-to-waist ratio, or just her slenderness? "The Birth of Venus", Sandro Boticelli c1486.

Is there really a single ideal body shape for women?

Is there an ideal body shape that is universally attractive? A recent study shows that beauty is more complex, and diverse, than that.
Baby boomer women are dressing differently and rejecting a look they associated with their mothers. Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Flickr

Ageing gracefully: how women steer the line between inauthentic and old

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still look fabulous. This message is sold to us by magazines, newspapers, the cosmetics industry, fashion labels and dating agencies. Think of the recent movie…
Most of us struggle with our own attractiveness and whether we have enough of it. Tony Bowler/Shutterstock

Not everyone is beautiful

You probably aren’t beautiful. It’s statistical, not personal. Most of us are average, a few of us are ugly, and a tiny number of us are beautiful or handsome. Many of us struggle with our own attractiveness…
Being lean and unfit is worse than being fat and fit. Raúl González/Flickr

Does my BMI look big in this? And does it really matter?

This month, the toxic combination of extreme heat and summer holidays will probably mean that you’re going to expose more flesh than you would like to someone whose opinion you care about. January is the…
Just because Barbie has impossible proportions, does that mean playing with her will distort young girls' body image? Flickr/Freddycat1

Is Barbie bad for body image?

Launched in 1959, named after the inventor’s daughter Barbara, and owned by 99% of 3-10 year old girls in the USA, Barbie has been a popular request on young girls’ Christmas wish lists for 55 years. So…
Steroid use is growing in Australia but not among the usual suspects. Jhong Dizon/Flickr

Scapegoating steroids won’t make for a safer night out

Steroids are easy to scapegoat. Users are viewed as aggressive, violent and mentally unstable, able to snap at any moment and cause great harm to the people around them. Ostensibly, it is this perception…
The market for men’s grooming products is doubling each year. Flickr: Alan Antiporda

Muscle mania: young men aren’t alone with body image concerns

Youth can be a difficult phase of life, as young people attempt to forge new identities, while facing challenges at school and in their social life. Many also experience pressure and stress related to…
It’s like putting a V8 engine in your heart – it’s not built to be sped up at that rate. Image from shutterstock.com

Health warning about body-sculpting drug clenbuterol

The growing number of Australians illicitly using the drug clenbuterol to lose weight and build muscle mass are putting themselves…
Vaginal knitting – what’s the fuss? SBS2Australia

Casting off shame through vagina knitting

One of the unexpected consequences of publishing a book about vaginas is that when friends or acquaintances encounter anything to do with the female anatomy, they forward me a link. “Saw this and thought…
People with body dysmorphic disorder have an excessive fear of looking ugly or disfigured. DeeAshley/Flickr

Body dysmorphic disorder puts ugly in the brain of the beholder

When people think of mental problems related to body image, often the first thing that comes to mind is the thin figure associated with anorexia. Body dysmorphic disorder is less well known, but has around…
Media stories tend to use the image of a headless fatty as a stand-in for all fat people. Stocky Bodies

Media’s faceless fatties fuel society’s growing sizeism

Stories on street harassment are popping up across the fat-o-sphere. Popular bloggers such as the Fat Heffalump are sharing their stories; and Adipositivity Project founder Substantia Jones has created…

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