Body one views himself or herself in the

Body image refers to how individual
views his or her sexual attractiveness or aesthetics of his or her own body,
and it is the brainchild of Paul Schilder from Austria in 1935 (Cash, 2004).

The society has placed much value on beauty associated with the human body, and
it is not often that the perception of an individual’s body meets the standards
of the society. Accordingly, the concept of body image has been utilized in
many disciplines including but not limited to medicine, philosophy, feminist
and cultural studies. However, there has not been any acknowledged definition
of the term body image, but many scholars have argued that it is the expression
of how one views himself or herself in the mirror and the mind (Smolak, 2004).

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Furthermore, it involves experiences, memories, comparisons and assumptions of
one’s appearance and the general attitude towards one’s shape, height, and
weight. The impression that an individual has on one’s own body is considered
as cultivated ideals from cultural and social ideas. The controversy and facts
on body image are assessed through body positivity and negativity. On the one
hand, negative body image includes the unfounded view that one has on the
shape, mostly feeling ashamed and less conscious while assuming that others
have more attractiveness (Smolak, 2004). On the other hand, positive body image
is the definite view of one’s figure, and it involves appreciation and
celebration of the body. The positive body image also consists in developing an
understanding that the appearance of someone is not an indication of the
self-worth or character of an individual. The sexualization of women and girls
has increased female anxiety about body image (O’Dea & Abraham, 2000).

The desire of becoming thin has become
common among adolescent female girls, given that even those of 5 to 7 years are
not satisfied with the sizes of their bodies. In the past years, this problem
has affected many preteen children. The lack of satisfaction with the shape and
size of one’s body has developed into a custom for adolescent females in
western and American civilizations. Girls of every age need to be leaner than
their current shape, and that according to research, the source of this
misguided ideology has stemmed from the pressure in the society. Females have
the desire of becoming thinner because of the demands of culture and the
community (Melioli, Moessner, Chabrol & Rodgers, 2016). Adolescents have
laid much emphasis on what society thinks about them instead of focusing on
school. The age of development of the physique of adolescents is essential in
the development of the emotive and societal aspects of a child, giving it an
overall outcome of the body image. Often, females put in a lot of effort to
look sexy and beautiful during early ages to have advanced enhancements on
self-worth. The adjustments that occur during the years of adolescence is
usually affected by the changes in the timing of the changes at puberty.

Therefore, female adolescents maturing early enough have advanced behavioral
and academic challenges compared to people in the same age group who develop
maturity at later ages (Cohen & Aiken, 2013). Girls and boys alike, have
benefitted from a social standpoint with the increase in the growth and
development of body physique. During the period of late adolescence, the girls
that have early maturity have the development of lower self-esteem, have more
weight and are shorter during the full growth is attained in puberty.

The struggles for body image have been
standard for a long time given that there are different and increased changes
in types of ideal bodies. In the past, perfect body types were connected to
genders, cultural beliefs and social standings (Smolak, 2004). The impacts of
body image range from physique to psychology for an individual, and since time
immemorial, it has been difficult for people to meet the standards set by the
society and the belief of what entails an ideal body. Many factors contribute
to body image of an individual, including mental illness, family dynamics,
cultural expectations such as politics and the media. It has been observed that
individuals who were having low body image often tend to make attempts in
altering their bodies through cosmetic surgery and dieting (O’Dea &
Abraham, 2000). Negative body image is an ever-present aspect among many
teenage girls, given that adolescence is a time when there are intense and
rapid physical and emotional changes. Accordingly, this contributes to female
adolescent girls becoming highly susceptible to external influences that are
from the media, friends, and family. These controls have an effect of changing body
image, and in the present society, youth have viewed thinness as connected with
health, success, and beauty. To this end, this paper seeks to assess the impact
of body image on female adolescents, and how it influences academic
performance. Additionally, there are explanations on how different factors
include the media impact body image in female adolescents. Body image
positively correlates to academic achievements in female adolescents (Clay,
Vignoles & Dittmar, 2005).

The stage of puberty is a period where
there are many and significant transitions that play a role in the development
of a positive attitude towards the image of the body and self-esteem. The
global self-esteem of adolescents directly correlates to the physical
appearance of an individual, then scholastic competence, behavioral conduct,
social competence and competence in athleticism. The period of adolescence is
significant because it involves the formation of the views towards oneself and
identifying and understanding who one is and how one fits into the world. 
Youth is the process where there is the construction of oneself, and it has
many challenges. The change from childhood to adulthood has obstacles which
have not been covered for by scholars.

The emotional and physical changes have
an impact on the critical results of self-respect and the development of
learned behaviors that are necessary for attaining success among adolescents
(Cohen & Aiken, 2013). Many scholarly works are focused on the relationship
between satisfaction in the body image to eating disorders, achievement in
academics and self-esteem in female teenagers. The ever-changing society has
placed much emphasis on elementary students, and their connection to body
dissatisfaction.

This section seeks to provide insight on
how the positive or negative perception of the female body affects adolescent
female. The main ways that are covered are how women are affected emotionally
(self-esteem, confidence, and dissatisfaction), physically (health, damage to
self) and socially (introversion and extroversion).

Body image has an impact on
self-efficacy. Women having high body image levels have higher self-efficacy
levels and confidence. Self-efficacy and self-esteem both affect body image.

Self-esteem is the sense of worth of an individual, and it indicates the degree
to which one appreciates, approves of and likes about oneself. Self-worth has
been connected to academic accomplishment and body image, and for female, it
involves both affective and cognitive responses. Social comparisons are a
significant factor influencing the body image of female adolescents. Body
dissatisfaction is highly linked to self-esteem in adolescents (Alves-Martins,
Gouveia-Pereira & Pedro, 2002). The higher the body dissatisfaction in an
individual, the lower the self-esteem. Body image has a significant impact on
the self-confidence of an individual, mainly because it plays a vital role in
academic achievement. A low self-esteem does not promote educational success
because there are depressing feelings of worthlessness and this affects
reducing the excellence in academics. The fear of failure can lead to female
students having low self-esteem to hold back while those with high self-esteem
are taking the necessary risks. Body image has an overall effect on self-esteem
that translates to academic performance.

Therefore, body image is
seen affecting emotion in two ways. First, for female adolescents, the increase
in the body image has an effect of raising self-efficacy, and this has a
positive influence on academic achievement. Second, the rise in body image
boosts self-esteem, and this affects academic achievement.

Female adolescents often have the desire
of looking like thin models or personalities on television, and these goals
result in low self-confidence, unhealthy image of the body and behaviors that
develop from disorders connected to unhealthy eating. These actions include
eating too much or too little and restricted diet on only healthy foods, and
its early signs involve massive loss of weight and eating alone. Body image and
food are closely related, and if used in the best way, food is a source of
nourishment, pleasure, and self-love. Therefore, a healthy diet is essential in
overcoming issues related to poor body image (Craig & Edge, 2008). Additionally,
physical activity is vital in boosting body image and reducing related stress,
but it only becomes unhealthy if it becomes very much obsessive. Accordingly,
the desire of losing weight is densely connected to poor body image and that
many adolescents seek to lose weight. People have received more societal
pressure to become thin given that it is related to success and happiness. The
relationship amongst eating disorders and body image has increasingly become
important in female adolescents. Therefore, it leads to a decline in the
self-esteem of an individual, and further in the overall decline in academic
performances. On the same note, adolescents have problems dealing with the
resultant discrimination concerning the issue of body image (Clay, Vignoles
& Dittmar, 2005). Research has indicated that social, psychological and
behavioral repercussions of obesity in female adolescents suggest that those
who are overweight are at the receiving end. Overweight individuals have an
overall dissatisfaction with their bodies, social isolation, depression and an
individual’s self-confidence. Accordingly, one having low confidence has an
overall decline in academic accomplishment.

Self-esteem affects motivating success
in a positive dimension, and it has an overall effect on academic performance.

Students with low self-esteem do not attain a high level of academic excellence
compared to those having higher self-esteem. Extracurricular activities and
grades are critical in the optimal development of a female adolescent and are
indicators of an individual’s wellbeing and success. The academic achievements
play a very crucial purpose towards the establishment of self-confidence among
female teenagers. Self-esteem has the potential of raising or reducing the
academic excellence of an individual. This factor is imperative in the overall
social and educational performance of an individual, and children who face
rejection from peers have the capacity of being challenged by academic problems
(Coyl, Jones & Dick, 2004). The involvement in extracurricular activities
and attainment of better grades are imperative in the prevention of adverse
behaviors among adolescents, future success, and wellbeing an optimal
adolescent functioning in adolescents. Schools provide subjects including
science and mathematics, but not on self-esteem, and the moment students lack
self-confidence because of poor body image, their grades begin to drop. This
causes the students to begin losing trust in their abilities, and they hinder
their success. For example, when students know the answer and the next course
of action, they do not have trust in themselves and their abilities. Finally,
the cycle of poor body image has an effect of taking control over the negative
self-criticism by translating it to the academic behaviors that inhibit
success.

Body image and the media are closely
related. It impacts an individual through toys, magazines, clothes, and
advertisements. Girls have been encouraged to be sexy and thin, and from the
data in the Australian study, six out of every ten girls look at women
magazines. The results reveal that these females tend to have body
dissatisfaction and are unappreciative of their bodies. Young girls have levels
of dissatisfaction with their bodies because of social stereotypes and media
influence (Grabe, Ward & Hyde, 2008). The pressure of attaining the
required type of body in society has formed the basis of explanations of the
developing behavior of lack of satisfaction among female youth. The manner in
which adolescent girls view themselves has been influenced by the portrayal of
women in the western media. The exposure to thin-ideal television has been
linked to the increase in eating disorders among adolescent girls. An American
study indicated that 70% of the girls believed that the media impacted their
ideas of an ideal body shape, while 47% needed to lose weight to have a thin
and sexy body (López-Guimerà, Levine & Fauquet, 2010). Adolescent girls are
considered as the most vulnerable to exposure to media, and it has an adverse
influence on their body image. Due to pressure from the society and the media,
adolescents do not understand that advertisements of images are not always
real. The media does not only lay much emphasis on self-worth of a female
because of the impression but also presents a cultural perspective that cannot
be attained in the modern society (López-Guimerà, Levine & Fauquet, 2010).

Resultantly, there are high levels of dissatisfaction and desolation on their
bodies and poor eating habits. The lower the self-esteem, the lower the
performance levels.

Parents’ approach in criticizing the
weight of their children is a cause of body dissatisfaction among female
adolescents. The attitude of the mother and the father on their bodies is
directly related to the disapproval of the body among adolescents. Many studies
have touched on the issue of the role played by parents in the development of
dissatisfaction of body image. The primary emphasis is on thinness for girls
aged 8-12 years. The direct comments made by parents, mostly mothers on the
weight of their daughters, is strongly related to the perception of the body
image (Fisher, 2014). Parents, especially mothers on diets, who concentrate on
their weight tend to encourage their adolescent daughters to be thinner. By
encouraging daughters to be like the models in advertisements, parents are
reassuring dissatisfaction of image. Parents play a role in the body image
development through ways of modeling dysfunctional eating behavior and
attitudes. The influence of parents over children on the issue of direct
transmission of problems relates to their opinions and viewpoints and has an
impact on causing poor body image (McCabe, Mellor & Mealey, 2016).

Therefore, parents ought not to impose unrealistic body goals and expectations
on children, but should instead provide the support to become what the child
wants to be. Furthermore, parents have the ability to act as role models to
children through practicing eating habits that are healthy and doing consistent
bodily exercise; one can have the body that he or she desires.

From the above discussion, it is
undeniable that this study will be critical to educators, parents, and
counselors in efforts towards developing prosperous and healthy adolescents.

There is a need for the development of preventative methods for use in the
promotion of image satisfaction in the positive way and self-confidence of
adolescents. Additionally, paternities have to develop an understanding of the
essence of modeling healthy eating habits into adulthood from childhood, and
also have to fulfill children’s needs for them to grow up having positive body
image and healthy body image. Educators and parents have to address self-esteem
and body image related issues for a good growing up of a child. There is also
need for the development of intervention measures that are important in helping
adolescents to have a positive body image and enhancing self-esteem. Lower
self-esteem and dissatisfaction with body image are not easy to treat once
established, which brings the need for the implementation of primary
intervention and prevention programs in the level of elementary schools. When
unnoticed, the dissatisfaction results in unhealthy eating habits to obtain the
required weight. On the same note, as identified earlier, it can lead to the
hindrance of a female adolescent’s behavior which is prominent for the
performance of a child at school.

The underlying objectives of education
are the development of techniques that are important for adolescents to cope
with psychological and social problems. Therefore, school is regarded as an
essential place for the development of adolescents. It is necessary for schools
to build young citizens that have positive contributions to the society and are
comfortable with self-body image and not the expectations of the community
towards them. For counselors, it is essential to develop real consideration of
the image of the body and to use this information in adolescents for having a
positive image of the body. It must also be noted and recognized that
dissatisfaction on the body image can connect to poor self-esteem and the
beginning of eating disorders, along with an impaired lifestyle including
drinking and smoking. In totality, these factors have the potential of leading
to poor academic behaviors, low grades and finally drop out from school for
female adolescents. Counselors can use educational interventions in counseling
in classes and lay much emphasis on the presentation and reinforcement of
critical stance towards standards of the body image. The practicality in
training school counselor’s rests in the utilization of different therapeutic,
preventative and creative methods in the daily counseling practices given to
students. The programs emphasizing adolescents’ strengths and enhancement of
resiliency among the female adolescent’s group are better than attempts made
towards reaching solutions to the problem. It takes time for adolescents to put
away emotional distress, and thus; helping them includes teaching on how to
make healthy life choices. Accordingly, this paper has proven efficiently that
body image and academic performance in female adolescents have a close
connection.

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