Examining the Effects of Popular Children’s Media on Young Girls’ Body Image

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Examining the effects of popular children’s
Media on young girls’ body image
Sharon Hayes and Stacey Tantleff-Dunn
University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA

A study was done to explore the effects of short exposure to appearance-related media on young girls’ body image. Some writings/studies has suggested that girls at the age of 6 and older are experiencing problems with their body, or body dissatisfaction (Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2005). Some researchers are even saying that girls as young as 5 are having problems with their body image. There is some evidence that suggests that young children are aware of being thin or the “thin ideal” that exists in today’s society. Researchers are focusing on the information underneath that may contribute to why young people are thinking things about an ideal body type. In this study, (Hayes & Tantleff-Dunn, 2010) chose to examine the effects of exposure to popular animated children’s media on young girls’ body image and appearance-related behaviors. For this experiment, it was hypothesized that exposure to appearance-related media (watching Disney movies: Beauty and the Beast) would result in more appearance-related play behavior (e.g. Playing dress up more) than demonstrated by girls in the control group (watching Lilo and Stitch and Dora the Explorer). A second hypothesis was said that girls exposed to an appearance-related media would show greater body dissatisfaction with their ideal and current body size using figural stimuli. Young kids were recruited from pre-schools and elementary schools. Informed consent was obtained from parents and as compensation for participation the parents would receive the opportunity to obtain an assessment of their child’s general intellectual abilities. There were 121 mothers/daughters participating from a metropolitan area in the Southeast United States. From 11 mothers, data was unavailable so those girls did not participate. Girl’s ages ranged from 3-6 and were...
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