The current media ideal for women is achievable by less than 5% of the female population – and that's just in terms of weight and size.
If you want the ideal shape, face etc., it's probably more like 1%.
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In the 19th Century being beautiful meant wearing a corset – causing breathing and digestive problems.
Now we try to diet and exercise ourselves into the fashionable shape – often with even more serious consequences.
Up to 8 out of 10 women will be dissatisfied with their reflection, and more than half may see a distorted image.
Men looking in the mirror are more likely to be either pleased with what they see or indifferent.
Research shows that men generally have a much more positive body-image than women – if anything, they may tend to over-estimate their attractiveness.
Some men looking in the mirror may literally not see the flaws in their appearance. Because women are judged on their appearance more than men, and standards of female beauty are considerably higher and more inflexible.
In one American survey, 81% of ten-year-old girls had already dieted at least once.
A recent Swedish study found that 25% of 7 year old girls had dieted to lose weight – they were already suffering from 'body-image distortion', estimating themselves to be larger than they really were.
Concern with appearance is not just an aberration of Modern Western culture.