Body Image and Media Messages

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Body Image and Media Messages

The media can have a strong effect on the body image of consumers, especially teenaged girls and women. Many of these images such as advertisements in magazines, online or on television are digitally altered to portray an unrealistic idea of what the body ‘should’ look like. These images are seen by many young people who don’t realize that even the model doesn’t really look like that and they then feel like they’re not pretty or skinny enough for society’s standards. Images in the media have a strong negative impact on body image sometimes contributing to poor mental and physical health issues such as eating disorders. Media such as magazines, television commercials, and printed advertisements often digitally alter images of models to look 'ultra-thin'. The media uses soft-focus cameras, airbrushing, photoshop editing and filters to make images that portray unrealistically perfect ‘ideal’ people. As a result of these warped images in the media, many people try to reach this impossible beauty standard. They might diet or exercise rigorously and still never look as perfect as the edited bodies they see all around them. This is because no one looks like these images, not even the supermodels and actors in the original photographs. The media might say they don’t think that they’re responsible for negatively affecting anyone’s body image or well being because it’s assumed that consumers realize the images have been edited, but do people really know that? The effects of the unrealistic portrayal of the human body in the media have real consequences for the influenceable minds of the public. It has been proven through scientific studies that girls and women who observe such images of an “ideal” body type often report greater body image dissatisfaction than those who are not subjected to the images. Teen girls, in particular, are fooled by the media’s stereotypical ideas of beauty. In one study, the ideal girl was described as 5 ft 7...
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