Books To Help You With Your Body Image Issues

Body image issues are a problem that almost everyone struggles with. There is a certain kind of individual that is shown to be desirable in the media, and everything else is considered unworthy. This individual is fair, skinny, tall, and most often, blonde. The woman version of this individual is supposed to also be hairless, have appropriately-sized breasts, a perky butt, and extremely feminine. The man is shown to be muscular. You can only describe men and women in this regard because content creators refuse to represent characters of any other gender.

Even though we’ve come a long way in representing characters more realistically, the decades-long appearance of these “picture perfect” characters has led to internalized body standards in many people.

While our intellectual selves know that these body standards are absolutely unrealistic, our personal selves can have a hard time accepting that we’re worthy of respect and affection if we don’t look like that.

body image issues

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In that case, reading up can help.

So, here are 2 books you should read if you struggle with body image issues, like everyone else.



Published in 1990, The Beauty Myth is often considered to have been ahead of its time. In this book, Wolf talks about the origins of body standards for women, their growth, and how they have interacted with the change in communication around the world. It also talks about the impacts of these body standards on the larger society.

“A consequence of female self-love is that the woman grows convinced of social worth. Her love for her body will be unqualified, which is the basis of female identification. If a woman loves her own body, she doesn’t grudge what other women do with theirs; if she loves femaleness, she champions its rights. It’s true what they say about women: Women are insatiable. We are greedy. Our appetites do need to be controlled if things are to stay in place. If the world were ours too, if we believed we could get away with it, we would ask for more love, more sex, more money, more commitment to children, more food, more care. These sexual, emotional, and physical demands would begin to extend to social demands: payment for care of the elderly, parental leave, childcare, etc. The force of female desire would be so great that society would truly have to reckon with what women want, in bed and in the world.”

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Taking a different angle than most books that talk about body standards, Body Respect focuses on how health is used as an excuse to stigmatize bodies that do not adhere to the societal body standards.

“Our culture perpetuates the anti-fat myths that keep people depressed and at war with their own bodies: a war where little battles might be won in the short term with a diet, but then lost overall because those who turn to dieting can rarely maintain long term the look that is the accepted norm—one that is not necessarily the best weight for them. And they feel worse about themselves for their failure. It also reinforces the message that they—not the size-stigmatizing culture—are the problem. The guilt-ridden menu that society hands each fat person has led to a severe case of indigestion”

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