1st Edition

How We See Ourselves How Psychology, Society and the Media Impact our Body Image

By David Cohen Copyright 2025
    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    This light-hearted and entertaining book, authored by top psychologist David Cohen, explores the influences and impacts on our perception of body image, examining the power of appearance and the psychology behind how we think and feel about ourselves physically.

    Packed with scientific findings alongside historical anecdotes and humorous insights, the book first looks at the history of body image and appearance, and how ideals of beauty have changed over time. It goes on to note the rise of the beauty and fashion industries, looking at how society, culture and the media can affect body image. The final section deals with issues of body dissatisfaction and the treatments and therapy available for those struggling with body image and mental health. Along the way, readers will meet a cast of characters from Elizabeth I, a daring, medieval Welsh poet, an Egyptian mummy with the first known tattoo, Paul F. Schilder who pioneered the study of body image, and the brave recipients of the first face transplants, among many more.

    In his trademark engaging style, Cohen offers a rich account of the psychology of body image through the ages and through the lifespan. It is valuable reading for students of psychology and professionals and therapists aiming to promote body positivity.

    Chapter 1. The Components of Body Image
    Chapter 2 Body Image Ideals through the Ages
    Chapter 3. The Academic Study of Body Image
    Chapter 4. The Effect of Social Media on Body Image
    Chapter 5. The Effect of Media and Celebrities on Body Image
    Chapter 6. Case histories in Eating disorders, Body Image Disturbance and Body Dysmorphia
    Chapter 7. Are you fit to exercise?
    Chapter 8. Tattoos and Body Piercings
    Chapter 9. Facial disfigurement and face transplants
    Chapter 10. The troubled language of disability
    Chapter 11. The significance of hair on body image
    Chapter 12. Baldness and hair trauma
    Chapter 13. Body image as we age


    David Cohen is a psychologist, film maker, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. His film on the Soham murders, When Holly Went Missing, was nominated for a BAFTA award.