Body Image, Self Concept and Self Esteem
Summary: Sports and media advertising effect people's perception of body image and present an unrealistic view of how one's body should look. This can cause body image and self-esteem issues for some people, causing them to attempt unhealthy diets.
Body Image, Self Concept and Self Esteem
Awareness of body image and self esteem issues has become a prevalent issue in today's culture. Doctors at the forefront of teen physiological development and research are becoming increasingly worried that teenagers are falling victim to unrealistic trends in perceived body image (Gutgesell and Payne, 2004) Today's media and advertisers play a big role in the development of our teenagers self confidence and self esteem. Particularly in relation to how they perceive body image and the term `beautiful. "Advertisers often emphasize sexuality and the importance of physical attractiveness in an attempt to sell products; researchers are concerned that this places undue pressure on women and men to focus on their appearance" (Dr. Harrison Pope, 1997). A survey in 1996 stated that the media were making woman fear being unattractive or old and furthermore that advertisements were adversely impacting on woman's body image (Saatchi and Saatchi 1996). The impact of unrealistic body image is not just confined to women. Men and more specificity teenage boys are adversely affected by self confidence issues as well. The average male/female today views 400 to 600 advertisements per day, by the time they are 17 years old, they have received over 250,000 commercial messages through the media. Only 9% of commercials have a direct statement about body image and beauty, many more implicitly emphasise the importance of body image and beautiful (Paul Hamburg 1999). Therefore if body image and self esteem are such considerable problems then what are they" Body image involves our perception, imagination, emotions, and physical sensations of and about our bodies. A body image can be ever changing and is not created based on fact but influenced by self esteem, environment, physical experiences and physiological experiences. It is not inborn but learnt. The learning comes from family and peers but only reinforces what is learnt and experienced culturally. Dissatisfaction with their bodies causes many women and girls to strive for the thin body image. Research suggests that the majority of girls aged 11 to 17 want to be thinner, and girls as young as five have expressed fears of getting fat. 80% of 10 year-old girls have dieted, and at any one time, 50% of women are dieting (Judy Lightstone 2001). Other researchers suggest depicting thin models may lead girls into unhealthy weight-control habits, because the ideal image they seek to emulate is unattainable for many and unhealthy for most. Furthermore over 27% of young women who are under weight believe that they are at an acceptable weight (National Health Survey, Australia 1995). These distortions in ones perceptions of the perfect body image or the thin `ideal' can lead to diseases such as bulimia and anorexia. As boys and girls strive to reach what they perceive to be the ideal weight they develop a compulsive fear of being fat. Approximately 1 In 500 children usually between 14 - 18 years old, develop anorexia or bulimia (L. Berk 2000). Helga Dittmar, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex, states that, "Body dissatisfaction can produce extreme body-shaping behaviors, such as eating disorders. Women and girls can't help being exposed to ultra-thin models in advertising whose body size is unrealistic and unhealthy. There is good evidence already that exposure to these unhealthy models leads a large proportion of women to feel dissatisfied with their own bodies." This learning is entrenched in our everyday lives as we are bombarded by advertisements, media and television depicting slender silhouettes of feminine bodies or bronzed muscular toned...
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