An American study, the findings of which are published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, have discovered that all women have negative reactions to female strangers who are overweight.
The US research team used MRI brain scans to monitor the reaction of women when they saw images of other women who were overweight. They found that these images set off a trigger in the part of the brain that controls self-reflection and identity, creating negative subconscious feelings about becoming fat and putting on unwanted weight. It was possible to also develop into a self-loathing attitude.
In previous studies this type of self-loathing and negative reaction has been seen in women who have an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimi). Yet these new findings suggest that even women who have no previous history of eating disorders exhibit the same negative feelings towards their own weight when confronted with images of overweight women.
The team behind this published study suggest that all women have the perception that they need to stay thin and feel that they need conform to a certain body type to feel happy and that seeing images of overweight women triggers a fear of become fat.
The same study found that men do not exhibit these same negative thoughts when they view images of overweight people.