Women's anxiety at undressing with others

Many women have anxieties when undressing in front of others, such as in public changing rooms. This is the finding of new research from Marianne Clark, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, which showed that while females are happy enough to sweat alongside people in the gym, they find being naked among individuals to be discomfiting.

Ms Clark explained she has often felt stressed when making use of facilities such as open plan dressing rooms, noting the prospect of disrobing when others can see is somewhat daunting.

The investigation revealed this uneasiness is prevalent among both younger and older ladies, although the latter found it easier to articulate why they felt self-conscious or modest.

Ms Clark went on to note: "Women also talked about their body as an entity over which they have no control - it was sagging or ageing, or it just did not comply with standards of conventional beauty."

Dr Susan Marchant-Haycox, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "The stress of undressing in front of others depends on many factors particularly in an age where women in general strive for a perfect body. 

"For some it can be an intimidating encounter and for others it's a means of showing off all their greatest assets.

"In society in general we are not brought up to display our naked bodies and as such many people are self-conscious about their nakedness. Research has shown that obese individuals are often judged negatively and consistently ridiculed for their overweight. 

"Thus, appearing naked in front of others is not an option for them. On the other hand, abnormally thin individuals (e.g. anorexics) tend to cover their bodies rather display them.

"But there are groups of individuals who take pleasure is displaying their bareness either because they are proud of their body and want to boast their ego by showing it off - or because their ego is already boosted by the results of plastic surgery (e.g. new breasts). 

"Nakedness is not natural for people in general. However, [the] emphasis from the mass media about perfect bodies is enough for many individuals to cover themselves up rather than uncover them."

It is all to do with self image. We are all asked by the media to look and feel "fabulous" but all it is doing is bringing us down! NOBODY has the perfect "pornstar" body. And all of these individuals who strive to look like they have been moulded out of shiny plastic will achieve their desired look. But what percentage of the population would find them more attractive before the 'moulding'? That is a study that, I feel, should be carried out.

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