American Women's Body Image Is Worse than Everyone Else's, So What Are We Doing Wrong?

As most of you are probably aware, the United States has something of a body image problem. In a culture where it's a big frickin' deal for a Lanvin ad campaign to imply that models actually eat every once in a while, it probably won't come as a big shock to find that, according to a recent Psych Guides survey, American women have worse body images than the rest of the globe. It may not be surprising, but it is pretty depressing.The survey asked around 1,000 participants to answer simple questions about themselves and rate their body parts on a scale of 1 to 10. It included both men and women, and it was split evenly between 500 United States citizens and 500 participants in other countries. Psych Guides compared the results between women inside and outside the U.S., and the differences is pretty stark: American women rated their bodies overall at 6.09, while women in other countries averaged 7.44. That's an 18 percent difference! The specifics of the answers get even sadder. While both groups of women rated their eyes most often as their favorite body parts, there were pretty big variances in their least favorites. Women outside the U.S. were pretty divided on what they didn't like: 12 percent disliked their legs, 9 percent their stomachs, etc. In contrast, a staggering 48 percent of women inside the U.S. reported they disliked their stomachs.


While the list of things women in other countries disliked about their bodies was varied, ranging from the aforementioned legs to noses and feet, the list for American women was restricted to what you see frantically emblazoned on the covers of women's magazines everywhere: stomach, thighs, arms, legs, and buttocks. If anyone tries to tell me that's a coincidence, they'd better be prepared for an avalanche of science coming their way, because media exposure to the thin ideal has been consistently linked to eating disorders. Perhaps worst of all, 88 percent of women outside the U.S. think they have a positive body image, but just 51 percent of American women say the same. The survey's male respondents didn't fare much better either — men inside and outside the U.S. rated their bodies lower than women at 6.00 and 7.21, respectively. However, unlike their female counterparts, more than 70 percent of American men reported having a positive self image. It should also be noted that the most common aspect all four groups would change about their bodies is their weight.Check out the rest of the survey results in this handy infographic.

Images: -S/Flickr, Giphy, PsychGuides