Body, Self, and Society: Victims of the Media

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The role and power of the mass media has often been a topic of debate among those whom have been blessed or cursed by its influence. Whether or not it can be supported that the media has positive or negative influence on society and culture, it can be clearly asserted that it does have a power to persuade the masses in one direction or the other. If not, there would be no place for advertising. Those who are too innocently naïve of this matter should speak to a few of the young women in Fiji that have been impacted by the western world culture they were exposed to through American television.

A study performed in Fiji after the introduction of television to a province of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu showed not only an increase in eating disorders but also in depression among the Fijian young women exposed to this media." ‘I'm very heavy,' one Fijian adolescent lamented during an interview with researchers led by Dr. Anne E. Becker, director of research at the Harvard Eating Disorders Center of Harvard Medical School, who investigated shifts in body image and eating practices in Fiji over a three-year period." (Goode 1) What makes matters worse is the change this has created to the way that a common Fijian young woman formerly felt about her body. Fiji generally follows suit with many other South Pacific Island countries. They consider a healthy robust body to be beautiful. It is customary to have guests for dinner and insist that they eat as much as they can. Fijians generally place priority on the community rather than on self. However that part of Fijian culture is now at risk because of the individualistic attitude created by the western media exposure. This is not the first case it has been asserted that the influence of the media has played a significant role in the development of eating disorders among teens and young adults. There have been many studies performed in which the results are conclusive that the media creates an image and a set of...
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