Negative Effects of Body Image on International Students

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Pick up a magazine. Turn on the television. Watch a movie. We are flooded with messages and images advise us that weight, body shape, outer look, and dressing make the person. Success seems to be directly connected to waist size, shape, and fashion label. The cultural significance of the physical seems to be so ubiquitous that other definitions are difficult to differentiate. For many individuals, especially women and international students the matter of question for beauty is extremely personal – as expected, the multibillion-dollar fashion and cosmetics business hanged on this. But to be true that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ individual test these standards and even turn down them completely by trying to set out their originality and leveling their unique values for attractiveness. Of significant concern, international education is increasing rapidly. And these has led to bodily discrimination between students from different cultural background. This has led to how students judge each other resulting in negative effects of body image. Keeping in mind the negative effects, this paper will go through how cultural diversity has led to different viewpoints on body shape. 

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What are the sources of influence? And majorly, what actions will universities in united states incite reduce this negative effects on international students? Review of Literature Culture Diversity Culture is a main frame because that’s where roots begin. Individual use cultural symbols to identify individuals from specific culture group and to differentiate about way of life style. With that being said, Culture can be both a positive and negative aspect but when it comes down to differentiating people based on the outside image it’s definitely a negative. Keeping in mind, international students are the most affected by the negative mindset considering body image due to cultural diversity. Every individual student belonging from different cultural background and its origin has their own opinion regarding the outer appearance. An Cuban women may find it difficult to fit in American view point of being fit. In the excerpt, My Hips, My Caderas (Valdes, 2000). She is a girl with hips and curves. She is seen as voluptuous. White Americans and Cubans have different viewpoints on how women should look and what beauty is considered to be. Her mother’s side of the family is white Americans who believed being skinny was the key to beauty. The Cuban family is fond of her hips but hate the intelligent mind that she is gifted with. Overweight and obesity The majority of students are included into these criteria due to bad eating habits, supporting meals on junk foods and snacks without nutrition. As author mentioned in body image, media, and eating disorder, majority of adults and around 30% of children are overweight, and touch the criteria of obesity (Derenne & Beresin, 2006). The other cause for the obesity is individual not getting involved in the physical activates. Do media affect body image and eating habits It is essential to be aware of the effects of media and its effect in body image over the students. 

International students try to fit in the new cultural aspects by getting major influence from media. And, these unrealistic body image advertisements, showing bodies that are not real at all or that are imperfect or not representative of the general population, have far-reaching negative effects on these international students. In short, there is an increase in the rate of obesity and disordered-eating behavior, such as dietary restriction. For what? Just to fit in the cultural view point about body image and eating habits. It is believed that the consistent depiction of the media of a thing ideal leads the women to see this ideal as central to attractiveness (Derenne & Beresin, 2006). However, because of a lot of biased media presentation, students dissatisfy themselves by measuring and comparing to social media expectations. Resulting in negative body image and extreme dieting and eating disorders. The author, Alisa Valdes also shares her personal point accepting that she and her friend read magazines related to dieting and weight loss (Valdes, 2006). 


For an end, as perfectly said ‘Beauty Lies in the Eye of the Beholder’. This research paper covered the effect and an influence of different cultural and different view point of an international students on body image and media influence over them. Finding about the negative effect on students about body image raises a question about. What actions should be taken by the United States university to minimize the negative effect of body image on international students? 

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Negative effects of body image on international students. (2021, Oct 15). Retrieved February 3, 2023 , from

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