Thin for the Win

Aesthetic Bias and Body Image Dissatisfaction in Aesthetic Sports


  • Leah Whitten Acadia University
  • Jason Holt Acadia University


Aesthetic sport athletes tend to be predisposed to aesthetic biases created by their sports, and are subsequently at a greater risk of developing serious issues of mental health that include body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders. This paper asks the question of why aesthetic sport athletes are a cohort of increased risk for such issues, as well as how this could be remedied through positive aesthetic sport cultures. We explore the focus on physique in aesthetic sports and how it relates to larger societal issues and norms, especially for the female athlete. We also consider the benefits of having a thinner body in many aesthetic sports, where such ideals tend toward harmful extremes. Though it is difficult to change inherent biases in aesthetic judgment, such biases can be challenged by creating positive growing environments for athletes, and more broadly by advocating for change in aesthetic sports themselves.






Focus and Viewpoint / Point de mire et Point de vue