When body worship becomes an obsession

When body worship becomes an obsession

In the society of the 21st century, there are few men and women who show dissatisfaction with their bodies. The sociocultural changes of recent years have increased the obsession of many people for physical perfection. This leads many, especially young people, to what is known as the tyranny of beauty. Although we must not rule out personal factors, part of the blame can be seen in the positive values ​​of success, happiness and health that our society associates with slender, athletic, tanned bodies. An ideal that does not correspond to the great majority of the population and that in some individuals generates sociocultural pressure and erroneous beliefs about themselves.

Body worship has become one of the main axes in the lives of many people, so gyms are filled with people who They not only want to stay healthy but also live pending the perfection of their bodies. The physicist has become for many people the most important reference of their own identity. The need to have a regulatory body can lead to various psychological disorders since the image is associated with success, personal relationships and even job opportunities.


  • 1 Risk factors
  • 2 Types of disorders
  • 3 The cult of the body and the society of the image

Risk factor's

Several factors have been described that contribute to the development of greater vulnerability, some of which would be:

  • Sociocultural factors, the influence of fashion and advertising is a crucial element linked to the increase in pathologies related to body image.
  • Family and social environment. The most intimate circle of the person can convey through comments and opinions, implicit or explicit, the importance of thinness, diets, musculature ...
  • Individual factors, the problems linked to self-esteem, fear of failure, perfectionism are factors that can predispose to cult behaviors to the body.

Types of disorders

The most well-known disorders linked to physical obsession are anorexia, bulimia, vigorexia and tanorexia. Despite being very different syndromes, they all share a common aspect; the fixation on an ideal of beauty and a possible distortion of the personal image. These pathologies are also linked to obsessive compulsive disorder due to the presence of recurring thoughts about their own image. Let's briefly describe these disorders:


Is the excessive obsession of a person to get a darker skin tone, these people always look too pale and their obsession is to always be tanned, sunbathing or with UVA rays putting their health at risk (increased stains and wrinkles and increased likelihood of skin cancer)


Obsession with the muscular body, it is considered as a disorder of eating behavior since the subjects who suffer from it tend to restrict the food they eat, the use of drugs and excessive exercise. Share with anorexia the excessive concern about the physical appearance and distortion of the body scheme. It affects more men than women.


The so-called anorexia nervosa is a set of eating disorders that consist of food rejection on the part of the patient due to the obsessive fear of gaining weight, accompanied by a distortion of body image and which can have very serious consequences for health, since it can develop malnutrition, amenorrhea and even death. It is a disorder with more prevalence among women.

The causes appear to be a mixture of biological, social and psychological factors. Regarding the risk factors, there is a lack of self-esteem and some personality traits such as being very perfectionist, obsessive and self-demanding people. This negative self-esteem is reinforced by social messages in which the slender bodies are emphasized as a positive social value.


It is characterized by the adoption of patterns of unhealthy eating behaviors, consuming excess food in very short periods of time, the calls Binge, followed by periods of regret, in which the person eliminates excess food through vomiting or laxatives. The fear of gaining weight is the main reason for the person suffering from the disorder.

The cult of the body and the society of the image

We live in the era of the image and the cult of the body is one of the maximum expressions of materialism today. It is very difficult to escape fashion and obsession with body aesthetics and a specific type of beauty, it is something that influences us all in our day to day.

But the image is not the person, we should not forget that this is nothing more than a facade with which we show ourselves to others. We are much more complex beings.


Carrillo, M. V., Sánchez, M. F. and Jiménez, M. (2011). Sociocultural and personal factors related to the media message of the cult of the body influencing the well-being of young people. Communication and Society, Vol. 24 (2), pp. 227-252. Retrieved on November 8, 2019 from the website: //

Vera, M. V. (1998) The body, cult or tyranny? Psicothema, Vol. 10, Nº1, pp 111-125. Retrieved on November 8, 2019 from website: //