Mid Wales

Uni body image research asks 'are you being judged?'

Women looking at each other Image copyright Getty Images

Female students at Aberystwyth University are being asked to text a researcher when they look at other women or are looked at in an attempt to understand body image development.

The psychology project is examining self-esteem and feelings of judging or being judged as part of the pressures women can face.

Dr Sarah Riley said they were looking at the "social process" of body image.

One student is collating real-time reports from fellow undergraduates.

Audrie Schneller asked them to send her a text when they "received" or "gave" a look from or to other women.

She said: "When the other students discussed their experiences it made them realise how often they looked or felt looked at in a judgmental way. They were really surprised to see what a critical culture we live and participate in.

"Even though I expected it, it's still shocking to see the pressure young women put on one another."

Dr Riley said women could take small steps to reduce feelings of self-doubt when feeling judged, which can trigger body issues and potentially lead to certain eating disorders.

"Try and assume the best. For example, looks aren't necessarily negative, they could be admiring, or simply someone lost in thought," she said.

"Remember to give yourself and other women positive looks and comments, and enjoy a compliment if it comes your way, and challenge an idea that dressing up is where women's power lies."

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