Body image is a person’s perception of the aesthetics or sexual attractiveness of their own body. It involves how a person sees themself, compared to the standards that have been set by society. The concept of body image is used in a number of disciplines, including psychology, medicine, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, philosophy, cultural studies and in the media.
Body image can be negative (“body negativity”) or positive (“body positivity”). A person with a negative body image may feel self-conscious or ashamed, and may feel that others are more attractive. Aside from having low self-esteem, sufferers typically fixate on altering their physical appearances. In the long term, such behavior creates higher risks of eating disorders, isolation, and mental illnesses. A negative body image may also lead to body dysmorphic disorder, a mental disorder characterized by the obsessive idea that some aspect of one’s own body or appearance is severely flawed and warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix.
Often, people who have a low body image will try to alter their bodies in some way, such as by dieting or by undergoing cosmetic surgery. Positive body image, on the other hand, consists of perceiving one’s figure clearly and correctly, celebrating and appreciating one’s body, and understanding that one’s appearance does not reflect one’s character or worth.
What does Islam say about body image? What ways does Islam suggest to prevent or overcome body image issues? Watch this video to find out: