March 13, 2008

How girls and women view their bodies – and why

What factors influence a girl's or woman's image of her own body and how can she learn to accept how she looks?

Psychology Professor Katherine Presnell
Journalism Professor Camille Kraeplin

After all, the average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 142 pounds, but the average super model – whose image appears on TV, billboards and in magazines – is about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds. The difference between "the look" and reality causes low self-esteem and can lead to eating disorders.

Think host  Krys Boyd of KERA Radio talks to SMU's Psychology Professor Katherine Presnell and Journalism Professor Camille Kraeplin, who are studying how the media influences body image and how cognitive dissonance exercises may help. They tell Boyd that women are influenced by the media, their peers and their family – and not always with positive results.

Listen to the interview or download it to your iPod . (The interview with Boyd is 31 minutes long.)

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