Body image is the subjective opinion or description one has of his or her own physical appearance. The body image is also shaped by the reactions of others to a person’s physical appearance as he or she perceives them. The concept of body image usually begins in infancy and develops slowly over time. People can have from very negative to very positive perception of body image and one’s degree of concern with it can vary depending on age and other factors.
Body image is studied by psychoanalysis and within this area it is generally not related to any objective measure or based on facts, but is subjective or based on opinions and feelings in nature. As a result, one’s opinion of his or her own body image may or may not be parallel with others’ judgment of this person’s body image. Body image is also closely associated with self-esteem, which is defined as a person’s inward feeling of value and worthiness.
Parents that are too concerned with their children’s appearances and weights can cause a problem with body image, especially when young people go through puberty. Children are also under pressure from their peers to look or act in a particular way, while advertisements in the media also try to imply a certain body look. Older children and young adults are more sensitive with body image and vulnerable to external pressures because they are more concerned about others’ perception of their appearance than other age groups. As a result, their self-esteem may suffer as their body changes dramatically from adolescence to adulthood.