I’ve been having a nerd day. As I edited my article on women’s appearance and body image I stumbled across a concept I’ve liked for a while. FLOW… The concept of flow was conceptualized by researcher Mihaly Csikezentmihalyi and describes the phenomena of being completely engaged in an activity. You may wonder how does being fully emerged in an activity correlate to physical appearance? Well in another article by McKinley and Hyde they addressed how others focusing, looking, and commenting on a woman’s appearance creates a self observance that inhibits her from fully emerged in an activity. After all, if you are constantly thinking about what others are thinking you will not be fully engaged in what you are doing. Why does this matter? Flow and total immersion in the now is proven to increase happiness and fulfillment. Therefore if you aren’t able to ever experience flow it is likely that you will feel sad and down. I mean who hasn’t gone to a coffee shop to study and had some random guy come up and create some spurious distraction. The distraction, though momentary, can impact us for the rest of the day, we now walk with more caution because people may be watching. Now we are focusing on HOW we are doing things and not simply doing them.
I love a strong picture…but did you know that in advertising and media women are much more likely than men to be pictured as body parts. These adds will often tend to focus on particular body regions including the breasts, torso and legs where as male adds feature whole body or faces. You may wonder…Why does this matter? Well, media images affect the way we perceive our world based simply on repetition and availability (availability heuristic, I’ll talk about that another day). Since we see these images frequently we begin observing our own bodies differently, through someone else’s perspective. Now that we are looking at ourselves through another’s perspective we are suseptable to their criticisms of our body and loose our own subjective observations. Protect your self images my sweeties!!!