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Media Impact on Body Image

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 1303 words Published: 22nd Feb 2019

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  • This research is on media’s negative influence on a persons’ body image. The paper will identify the problem of how and why media such as celebrities, magazines, television, advertising, and social networks negatively target an individuals’ self-perception. This research is important because many woman, and girls of our culture suffer a great deal of depression, stress, eating disorders, and many other psychological issues; because of not being able to meet unattainable thin  ideals set by the media. This research can be beneficial to many because it can help make  women aware about the dangerous effects of the media. As far as making women who perceive something that isn’t real, the media is at fault. This research  will teach  girls that they don’t have to look like an A-list model or celebrity to be beautiful.

    Body image in the media dates back to as far as the beginning of the 20th century. Before, curvy body types such as curvaceous Marilyn Monroe set the standards for women. By the 1960s body image was taken over by supermodels with their 90 pound body frames. These tiny figures featured in early television and magazines and drastically began changing the definition of “beautiful”. Body Image develops partly as a function of culture in response to cultural aesthetic ideals (Kim, Lennon 2007). I’ve found in some research that every society has its own way of torturing women. Psychological change is linked with environmental change which brings about how people define physical appearance based on various exposures to media.

    Media has so much control over the person staring back in the mirror.   Racine says,  80% of women under the age of 18 have tried dieting of some sort to see results like the photo shopped images of many models and celebrities that are on places like “Instagram and Facebook.” “These images that people see are computer made and the diets are not real.” Says Munro and Huon. When results are not seen after trying quick fixes it could lead to young women as young as 3rd grade being bulimic and depressed. This research  would  open the minds of adolescents who go through the daily struggle trying to fit in and attain the impossible by doing so in extreme dangerous life threatening ways. Girls need to know that no matter what a scale says it doesn’t define them as a person, nor how beautiful they are.

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    Some research says that media is progressively getting better with adding more positive messages within advertisement. “I wouldn’t say that it’s worsening, but is media  really getting better? What does the future hold as far as body image within the media?” Say If society  doesn’t further  reach out to  youth about the risks of being influenced by unhealthy diet fads, and not loving themselves because the television   ,  as peers, teachers, and parents, society has failed. The media has made a few changes just to push away the negatives that thrown at them as far as just being “thin”. At the same time, media still continues to make note within the music society listen to and the most popular clothing to make money because “thin” is what sells in our culture.

    The worse part of all of this is that psychological and eating disorders can start in girls as young as seven or eight according to the Journal of School Health. Ten years ago it was safe to say that teens were ok to be exposed to media and it affects at the ages of 15 and 16. Now because of how easy electronics are to learn, children are exposed to electronics as young as 2. By the age of 5 they are using the same social networks as 26 and 30 year old adults, exposing their minds to things they can’t fully process. Confronting and educating an elementary aged child about loving themselves and healthy exercise and eating strategies is more relevant with cyber bullying, and self-evaluation happening because of not looking how the “media” says they should look.

    Media is thought to be the number one source of influence on negative body image. Some other research points to genetics, and socialized responses attributed to dysfunctional childhoods. Some think things such as low self-esteem result from abusive childhoods. Likewise, when obese children are raised by belittling parents who antagonize them with food and their physical appearances, it can cause problems as they develop and mature in their teenage years. The alternative is that early intervention  will help prevent long-term health issues for majority of patients with eating disorders and bad self-persistence.

    To carry out these methods people need to be educated. Starting more  non-profit organization that go to elementary, junior high, and even colleges  to educate women and girls on this topic. Those who care about this topic as much as someone going through it , and even with a little experience would be needed to help with this project. Teens and even adults commit suicide every year because of not being able to fit in.  Fundraisers to raise awareness and money for their families would help as well. More counselors to talk with more people who struggle with eating disorders, and find more information about why the media targets the people they do and exactly how they do it, in order to effectively help those who fall victim to it. One thing that needs the most attention, and  further research is psychology of the brain, and medical disorders of these victims to the media. This research is needed to fully understand why woman mentally feel the need to try and do as they see.   Many people overlook all of these issues and push the reasons of sadness, depression, and anger to other things that people go through or are experiencing in their life that very moment.

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    Overall this  research is feasible because it’s something that is happening now. So many people can relate to falling victim to the Medias unrealistic perception of ‘beautiful’. Valuable resources have been found such as the Journal of School Health, NeTweens: The Internet and Body Image Concerns in Preteenage Girls, and also Media Influence on the Body Image of Children. Lots of people agree with this and though there are many non-profit organizations for this topic,  another voice can’t hurti. Elementary school girls are obsessed with their weight, teen’s everyday experience psychological problems, and many women pay lots of money for diet quick fix fads that do not work. The media does a great job at pulling our society into the advertisement that result in sales. Even if the argument is made that media is not the initiator of a woman’s self-perception, just a mirror of society, the media still should take responsibility for at least perpetuating the dysfunction.

    Works Cited

    Lawrie, Z., et al. “Media Influence On The Body Image Of Children And Adolescents.” Eating Disorders 14.5 (2006): 355-364. SPORTDiscus. Web. 16 Oct. 2014.

    Monro, F, and G Huon. “Media-Portrayed Idealized Images, Body Shame, And Appearance Anxiety.” International Journal Of Eating Disorders 38.1 (n.d.): 85-90. Science Citation Index. Web. 16 Oct. 2014.

    Tiggemann, Marika, and Amy Slater. “Nettweens: The Internet And Body Image Concerns In Preteenage Girls.” The Journal Of Early Adolescence 34.5 (2014): 606-620. PsycINFO. Web. 16 Oct. 2014.

    Racine, Elizabeth F., et al. “The Relationship Between Media Use And Psychological And Physical Assets Among Third- To Fifth-Grade Girls.” Journal Of School Health 81.12 (2011): 749-755. ERIC. Web. 16 Oct. 2014.


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