How Does the Media Effect the Body Image of Teenagers?

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How does the media effect the body image of teenagers?

Advertising in teen magazines and on television typically glamorizes skinny models who do not resemble the average woman. In fact, today's models generally weight 23% less then the average woman. Considering the average person in the United States sees approximately 3,000 ads in magazines, billboards, and television every day, your teenager is getting the wrong message about body image much too often. Media targeting teenage girls are emphasizing the ideal of thinness as beauty. When you stop and think about the fact that the average height and weight for a model is 5'10" and 110 lbs, and the height and weight for the average woman is 5'4" and 145 lbs, it's easy to see why this creates a tremendous health risk for young girls. Images of female bodies are everywhere. Women—and their body parts—sell everything from food to cars. Popular film and television actresses are becoming younger, taller and thinner. Some have even been known to faint on the set from lack of food. Women’s magazines are full of articles urging that if they can just lose those last twenty pounds, they’ll have it all—the perfect marriage, loving children, great sex, and a rewarding career. The American research group Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. says that one out of every four college-aged women uses unhealthy methods of weight control—including fasting, skipping meals, excessive exercise, laxative abuse, and self-induced vomiting. The pressure to be thin is also affecting young girls: the Canadian Women's Health Network warns that weight control measures are now being taken by girls as young as 5 and 6. American statistics are similar. Several studies, such as one conducted by Marika Tiggemann and Levina Clark in 2006 titled “Appearance Culture in Nine- to 12-Year-Old Girls: Media and Peer Influences on Body Dissatisfaction,” indicate that nearly half of all preadolescent girls wish to be thinner, and as a...
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