Effects of the Media on Young Women

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Nicole Ruben
TRF 235
January 31, 2012
The Effects of the Media on Young Women
Women seen in the media are typically gorgeous, thin, and flawless. Seeing these characteristics promotes an unrealistic body type that many girls strive to have. What this does is lower the self-esteem of these girls, ultimately leading to unhealthy eating habits and disorders. A study done by Harvard researcher Anne Becker demonstrated this by examining the effects of television in Fiji. Television was introduced in Fiji in 1995. At this time, only three percent of girls there reported they vomited to control their weight. However, three years later, fifteen percent of girls reported they acquired the same behavior. The culture in Fiji generally promotes eating healthy and looking robust, so this is considered a dramatic change in behavior for a culture that encourages the opposite (Corydon, 1). Another factor consider when looking at eating disorders caused by the media is that twenty years ago, models weight eight percent less than the average woman. Today, they weigh twenty-three percent less (Media-Awareness, 1).

Sexualization is another effect the media has on young girls. An article by BBC News defines sexualization as “occurring when a person’s value comes only from her or his sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics, and when a person is portrayed purely as a sex object.” Television shows such as Gossip Girl and other shows similar to Gossip Girl substantially consist of sexual content. A large percentage of the viewers of these shows are young girls who look up to the characters they see on television. When they see their role models dressing and acting the way they do, they want to do the same. One study found that adolescents who have seen a lot of media with sexual content were more than twice as likely as others to have had sex by the time they were sixteen (TIME). Furthermore, many songs heard on the radio appeal to young girls,...