This months’ song is not new, in fact, it is 12 years old. However, the story of this song from India Arie is very important in the present-days. It talks about loving each little part of the body and mind. It talks about unconditional self-love and how God made each one of us perfect. This song brought me to the medical subject of body satisfaction, and immediately, I started to wonder how clothing and fashion can influence the feeling of body satisfaction.
As stated by Frith & Gleeson (2004), clothes and in particular fashion, are seen as ‘‘frivolous, trivial, and inconsequential’’, and hence unworthy of serious study. However, the vision evolves and new knowledge leads to new questions. With the evolution of the fashion industry and society, new fashion roles and ways to communicate with the public has emerged, and with it, we started to see that we are more susceptible to the influence of fashion/clothing than many would like to believe. This influence of fashion can even be evaluated as a medical subject, not necessarily pathological, as you can be seen at my blog and in scientific studies. For these reasons, the relationship between fashion and medicine are worthy of serious study, discussion and to be translated to the general public. Therefore, the following definitions shall be clarified for a better understanding of the subject.
Body image relates to a person’s perceptions, feelings and thoughts about his or her body, and is usually conceptualized as incorporating body size estimation, evaluation of body attractiveness and emotions associated with body shape and size (Grogan, 1999; Muth & Cash, 1997). With the increase of studies and areas interested in exploring this subject, other definitions, concepts or branches of the body image definition has born. I am talking about the main subject of our blog post – body satisfaction.
Body satisfaction is an operationalization of the body image definition in an evaluative-affective dimension (Cash, 2002). Therefore, it assesses satisfaction with the appearance of the body. Recent studies are evaluating this subject through participants who rate their level of satisfaction with nine aspects of their bodies (e.g., ‘‘face’’, ‘‘mid-torso (waist, stomach)’’) (Catherine Lacey, 2009).
But why am I making this subject the Theme of July 2021?
Well, it is because recent studies are relating body satisfaction to good health outcomes (Lori Andersen, 2017):
The most interesting part is that are some studies that relate body satisfaction or dissatisfaction with clothing, fashion and clothing shopping. As a result, I wonder…is there a way to help you with this knowledge? Is there a ‘toxic dose’ of body satisfaction? What can influence body satisfaction? Should I evaluate my patients with eating disorders/depression/body image disorders with a scale to evaluate body satisfaction? How can clothing help to achieve the right therapeutic window of body satisfaction? Is that even possible? Well, these questions will be further explored this month, and in the further years. I hope you are here to further expand your knowledge alongside me while applying it to the fantastic and frivolous fashion world, which deserves also serious scientific studies.
For now, stay with the colours of the month for a summer full of freshness, movement and golden moments. It might help to look at your days with bright eyes. Let me know.
Luís de Oliveira
Founder & Chief Creative Officer
*Grogan S. Body image and health: contemporary perspectives. J Health Psychol. 2006 Jul;11(4):523-30. doi: 10.1177/1359105306065013. PMID: 16769732.
*Gustat J, Carton TW, Shahien AA, Andersen L. Body Image Satisfaction Among Blacks. Health Educ Behav. 2017 Feb;44(1):131-140. doi: 10.1177/1090198116644181. Epub 2016 Jul 9. PMID: 27216795.
*De Oliveira da Silva P, Miguez Nery Guimarães J, Härter Griep R, Caetano Prates Melo E, Maria Alvim Matos S, Del Carmem Molina M, Maria Barreto S, De Jesus Mendes da Fonseca M. Association between Body Image Dissatisfaction and Self-Rated Health, as Mediated by Physical Activity and Eating Habits: Structural Equation Modelling in ELSA-Brasil. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Apr 18;15(4):790. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040790. PMID: 29670031; PMCID: PMC5923832.
*Tiggemann M, Lacey C. Shopping for clothes: Body satisfaction, appearance investment, and functions of clothing among female shoppers. Body Image. 2009 Sep;6(4):285-91. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2009.07.002. Epub 2009 Aug 5. PMID: 19660999.
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