Study: Women Feel Better than Ever About their Bodies

woman body image
General Health

While women are being bombarded with a barrage of images and suggestions over what they should look like, a new study shows that most women are feeling more confident in their skin than ever.

The study, which was presented at the American Psychological Association’s 124th Annual Convention, showed that while women’s confidence in their bodies was still generally lower than men, it has been positively increasing over time. For the results, researchers compared 81 studies with over 23,000 individuals participating over a span of 14 years. The dissatisfaction in body seemed to level off between men and women in more recent years. [1]

Researchers aren’t sure why there is a decrease in women feeling badly about their bodies, but they have several theories. For one, they believe that the increase in ads by Dove that promote body positivity have helped raise women’s self-esteem. It is also theorized that since people by and large are becoming heavier, to the tune of almost two thirds of Americans, not having a model-thin body is becoming both more visible and acceptable.

Bryan Karazsia, an associate professor of psychology at The College of Wooster and study author, said:

“You are seeing more images in the media of body diversity. As those ideals are shifting, I think people are becoming a little more critical of the extreme images they see and the media is embracing [the idea] that bodies of all shapes and sizes can still sell products.”

Karazsia also theorizes that it is possible that the thin body ideal is becoming more outdated. With the appearance of women of all shapes and sizes on television and in the media, it may factor in to how women see themselves, perceive attractiveness and perceive the idea of what is overweight or obesity.

The last two decades have had concentrated body positive efforts, so perhaps we are now finally seeing positive results from it. [2]

Karazsia also says that it is possible that the trend toward being tone and in shape instead of just thin has also changed the way women perceive themselves and their overall body confidence.

Researchers are cautiously optimistic that the trend will continue.


[1] Time Magazine

[2] Fox News