Body Image in the Media

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It’s a Tuesday afternoon and you just got home from a long day at school. Hoping for a relaxing outlet, you pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly. After flipping through the glossy pages and admiring the stick-thin and flawless models, you start to feel inadequate; feelings of anguish and disgust towards your own body start to flood your mind and they don’t stop. You close the magazine in a hurry, hoping to rid yourself of the perfection once displayed before you; however, like a stamp to an envelope the images have quickly imprinted on your mind. As you walk over to the coffee table to set it back down, you glance over at the mirror and stare back at the sad girl living in a looks- conscious world. “Why can’t I look like that?” you think to yourself. You try and shake the negative thoughts away, thinking it’s nothing serious, even common for a girl your age. But in reality, little do people know it’s anything but. These thoughts of self-hatred can have devastating effects to one’s overall welfare. Go back and look at that US Weekly, or walk into any convenience store; you’ll see that it’s not the only form of walking advertisement brought by the media causing a negative effect on people. The low self-esteem brought upon children from images or expectations from the media can lead to scarring body meltdowns, such as eating disorders. The media is an unavoidable target that has a constructive influence on everyone, and more needs to be done to combat the negative impact it has on an individual’s health and mental wellbeing. Although this may seem like an irrelevant issue to some, people can’t deny that the unrealistic body images and promiscuous ads the media puts forward for all to see have an affect large enough to shatter the confidence and self-esteem of any individual. The amounts of media young adolescents are exposed to is promoting unhealthy images of beauty that is damaging to society. Through different time periods and fads, the media’s image of what’s “perfect” is constantly changing, yet is always focused on extreme thinness as ideal. Due to this exposure to the media’s obsession with being thin, society’s response includes creating low self-esteem for one’s self, eventually leading to eating disorders and damaging thoughts. Thanks to the media, we have become accustomed to extremely rigid and uniform standards of beauty. Kate Fox from Social Issues Research Center (SIRC) says that, “standards of beauty have in fact become harder and harder to attain, particularly for women. The current media ideal of thinness for women is achievable by less than 5% of the female population.” Not only does Kate sympathize and understand the inner struggle women in society have to face due to the strict mold that the media portrays, she further proves that the ‘ideal’ look is completely unattainable. The naïve minds of women struggling to acquire a ‘perfect’ look don’t realize that it’s nearly impossible to fit into what is deemed acceptable. So when the latest dieting fad fails, their self-esteem plummets and deteriorates any lasting self confidence they once had. Not only can this dramatic mental loss lead to damaging thoughts, but drastic acts of self-harm as well. Statistics show that 80% of all eating disorders started with a diet and an unhealthy body image (Tierney). Having a negative body image is the most common cause of self-harm cases, and is more detrimental to one’s health than most would believe. Not only can it lead to many mental and physical health risks, but thanks to advertisements brought to us by the media, it’s become much too common in today’s youth. So much, that many females today believe it to be a rite of passage in life (Tierney). The media’s attention-getting and over-idolized advertisements aren’t the only roots for negative body image and low self-esteem in young adolescents. Magazines may be flooding news stands in grocery stores, and billboards can be easily seen when driving down any high way;...
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