Does the Media Influence Young Women's Body Image in Ireland

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Does the media influence young women’s body image in Ireland?

The department of Health estimates that 200,000 people are affected by eating disorders every year in Ireland of which 80 people die as a result (www.dofc.ie). In a study on Irish girls 27.2% were found to exhibit clinical levels of bulimia, with 71.4% of Irish adolescents feel adversely affected by media portrayal of body weight and shape (www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com). Self-image was the number one factor that affects the mental health of Irish teens (www.dcya.gov.ie).

In Ireland very often teenagers and young women compare themselves to the models they see in magazines and other forms of media such as television shows and billboards, in regards to their physical attractiveness, Wang, Youfa, Beydoun, May A (2007). The media and the fashion industry put so much emphasis on being thin and on the ideal body image, this can be psychologically detrimental to the physical and all mental well being of young women and their self-image. This can also give rise to excessive exercise and eating disorders amongst young girls (Martin, 1997). The thin ideal is a concept of the ideal female body type; the common perception is that the ideal woman is slender with a feminine physique with a small waist and with little body fat (Jones, 2003). More often than not underweight models are used by the media and also in advertising to promote this thin ideal also with the use of digital enhancement and photo-shop this gives a false sense of what is real therefore this physical perfection is unattainable in real life.

The media promotes and advertises a trend of unhealthy and extreme dieting and other bad eating habits towards women. A lot of media sources splash images of skinny emaciated females on the covers of their magazines and women continue to spend their money trying to achieve these unattainable bodies they constantly see in advertising. With a lot of magazine articles ‘glamorizing’ drastic weight loss...
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