A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that women are more likely to report their own body images to the media than men, despite having similar levels of self-esteem.
In fact, women report more body image concerns than men when it comes to their own bodies, the researchers say.
“The results are not entirely surprising, given the ways in which self-reported body image is affected by social norms,” study co-author Kristin Puckett said in a press release.
“We believe that this is an important, and potentially promising, avenue for future research on how body image and self-image are related.”
Puckets research is based on the National Institutes of Health’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which collects data on people’s health and well-being from a nationally representative sample of more than 6,000 adults in the United States and Canada.
She said the study found that women report higher levels of body image concern than men.
“Women reported higher levels in their self-reports about their own self-perceived body image than men did,” Pucketts said.
“Specifically, women reported higher self-satisfaction about their body, as well as higher self‐perceived negative body image, relative to their men.”
Picking the right body image The study found women also report lower levels of confidence in their own appearance than men do.
Women reported higher confidence in the appearance of their own thighs, breasts, and abdomen than men also did, but only slightly.
Pucket said the difference in self-confidence between men and women may be due to women being more likely than men to see themselves as physically attractive.
“Our findings suggest that women may perceive themselves to be more attractive than men on average,” Puffett said.
The researchers noted that while there is some evidence that men have higher levels, there is no clear relationship between body image issues and these issues.
The study authors say they think the discrepancy between men’s and women’s self-acceptance is a function of how much self-awareness people have about their bodies.
“This may contribute to the greater confidence in body image that women exhibit in the context of their self‐acceptance,” Pucks said.
Picking a body type that works for you is important, but not necessarily the only way to be attractive.
Puffetts research also found that there is a gender difference in the way women look at their own faces.
“Men and women do not see their own face as a mirror of the image of the opposite sex, so the body image of both men and the opposite-sex are generally considered to be the same,” she said.
But Puckes researchers found that when men and men’s faces were compared, women had lower self-disgust about their looks.
Picks study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Follow Jillian on Twitter.
Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow Jillians on Twitter