The Woman in the Mirror: How to Stop Confusing What You Look Like with Who You Are

Overview

Many women-regardless of income, size, shape, ethnicity, and age-are uncomfortable in their own skin. We fixate on our body image and try endless diets, implants, hair extensions, and new shoes, but it's never enough. The problem is that girls and women have been socialized to mistakenly conflate body esteem and self-esteem. Body esteem refers to how you think and feel about your physical appearance: your size, shape, hair, and features. Self-esteem refers to how you think and feel about your personality, your ...

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Overview

Many women-regardless of income, size, shape, ethnicity, and age-are uncomfortable in their own skin. We fixate on our body image and try endless diets, implants, hair extensions, and new shoes, but it's never enough. The problem is that girls and women have been socialized to mistakenly conflate body esteem and self-esteem. Body esteem refers to how you think and feel about your physical appearance: your size, shape, hair, and features. Self-esteem refers to how you think and feel about your personality, your role in relationships, your accomplishments, and your values-everything that contributes to who you are as a person.

The Woman in the Mirror goes beyond typical self-esteem books to dig deep into the origins of women's problems with body image. Psychologist Cynthia Bulik guides readers in the challenging task of disentangling self-esteem from body esteem, and taking charge of the insidious negative self-talk that started as early as when you first realized you didn't really look like a fairy princess. By reprogramming how we feel about ourselves and our bodies, we can practice healthy eating and sensible exercise, and focus on the many things we have to offer our family, community, and job. Bulik provides us the tools to reclaim our self-confidence and to respect and love who we are.

Praise for Crave:

"More than 7 million Americans struggle with binge eating disorder (BED) . . . Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop helps shed light on the problem."-O, the Oprah Magazine

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An alarming number of American females don’t like what they see in the mirror, writes Bulik: by the time girls are ready for high school, half of them hate their weight and shape—and their self-esteem has taken a precipitous dive. Bulik, a psychologist and eating disorders specialist at the University of North Carolina (Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop) paints a disturbing picture of the distorted lens through which many American women, from girlhood to old age, view their bodies. She also offers a guide to untangling the mess, based on controlling negative self-talk. With a section devoted to each part of the life cycle, Bulik includes examples of struggles women can identify with. For example, for college-age women, there’s a plan for healthy eating, and a graph to help young women become aware of the events (“mean-girl behavior”) and situations that foster negative self-esteem. Bulik encourages such inventories to “capture your thoughts” and become “a critical observer of your own thinking and... behavior.” It’s a pain-for-gain challenge to self-awareness that may be the only hope we have to change a troubling trend. Agent: Richard Curtis. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
In this timely study, Bulik (Psychiatry/Univ. of North Carolina; Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop, 2009, etc.) examines why the female "inner struggle with identity and self-esteem" often manifests as an obsession with bodily imperfections. She posits that the main reason why women attempt to "fix" themselves with diets, cosmetics and surgery is that society has led them to conflate self-esteem with what she calls "body esteem." The latter should only be a minor component of the former, but social pressures on women to conform to unattainable ideals of beauty reverse the relationship so that how they look physically becomes the primary way by which women judge their total personal worth. The author first looks at how females of all ages view themselves and their bodies. She encourages readers to take inventory of the negative feelings they may have accumulated at various stages in their lives, and she offers practical advice on how women can regain control of their lives and end the harm they do to themselves both physically and emotionally. Females must cultivate strategic awareness of negative self-talk--not only what it is, but when and where it arises--while also nurturing "the inner coach." Not a panacea for all women suffering from poor self-esteem, but Bulik offers hope that freedom from the unrealistic ideals of beauty can be achieved through disciplined self-scrutiny and a will to change damaging ways of thinking and being.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781408828045
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
  • Publication date: 1/28/2012

Meet the Author

Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D., is the William R. and Jeanne H. Jordan Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, a professor of nutrition at UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health, and director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program. She has been featured or quoted in Vogue, Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. She is the author of Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop and the coauthor of Runaway Eating (with Nadine Taylor). Bulik lives in North Carolina.

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