Dr.Terry J Martin PsyD, LCSW, DCSW
There are an increasing number of individuals in our society who are seeking out surgical procedures to alter their appearance to make them more attractive, and accepted by others in society. This is an alarming trend as many people today in our society are not content with their current appearance.
They choose high risk and expensive procedures from breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, brow-lifts, to face lifts in an attempt to look like the latest model or celebrity.
In the early 60s Marilyn Monroe who wore a dress size 14 whose figure was described as one of the most beautiful women in the world. This set the standard for women’s fashion, and what was acceptable in our society for women to be beautiful. Later in the decade, I witnessed the impact that the model Twiggy had on the fashion industry, and how radical the women’s fashion industry changed to accommodate this new standard.
Cultural influences, the need that people have to be attractive, and their concerns about how they look have contributed to the development of anxiety over how we appear to others.
As a teenager in the late 60’s and early 70’s I witnessed the impact that the model Twiggy had on how women viewed their physical appearance (i.e. weight), and what women then considered as acceptable beauty. Society and the fashion industry have continually placed unrealistic expectations for many women during this time, and influenced their behavior regarding their diets. An increase in eating disorders has been the outcome of this shift in the paradigm. What kind of body does a woman have to have to make her beautiful?
Society with the help of women’s fashion placed unrealistic expectations for many women during this time, and influenced their behavior regarding their diets. This was a case of classical conditioning or modeling, and set the stage for an increase in somatoform disorders.