Media Image and Self Esteem

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Abstract
Media plays a major role in society. A lot of women pride themselves on the idea of “looking” like a model. A convenience sample of thirty-six female college students ages 18 to 25 participated in the research. The independent variable was the types of media images seen by participants. One group viewed media images of “the thin ideal” body type, and the other group viewed images of average sized body type. The hypothesis stated that if a woman was exposed to media images of “the thin ideal” body type, a negative body image resulted. Of the women tested, no significant results were found to support that media images of “the thin ideal” have a negative effect upon body image.

Media image and the effect it has on self esteem
The ideal female has become thinner, while the average American woman has become heavier over the last forty years. In the 1960s television and fashion magazines. , fashion photography wanted stick thin models that did not compete with the clothing (Hesse-Biber, 1996). This thin “look” has lead to an extreme increase in diet articles and advertisements which all encourage weight loss. This weight loss is not promoted for health reasons but rather for aesthetic purposes. Body image and self esteem has been measured by a number of scales. Franzoi’s Body Esteem Scale, The Feel-Ideal Discrepancy, The Body Shape Questionnaire, and The Shape and Weight Based Self-Esteem Inventory are all scales used to identify the increasing dissatisfaction among women about their body image and self esteem. This dissatisfaction comes from a combination of internal and societal influences because the societal image of “the thin ideal” has become internalized (Dorian, 2002). Social Comparison theory claims that people compare themselves and their significant others with other people and images that they see on television and movies. Other studies have found an effect of media images upon body image. Lin and Kulik’s Social Comparison and Women’s Body Satisfaction, found that social comparisons and exposure to thin model media images did have a negative effect upon body satisfaction (Lin, 2002). Henderson-King researched whether or not social factors of individual factors were related to a woman’s body esteem. They found that media images do not similarly affect a woman’s body esteem. When exposed to media images, they found that women who matched “the thin ideal” media image had a more positive self image. Women who did not match “the thin ideal” reported a more negative self image. Participants either overheard a conversation about people judgmental about a person’s weight or about a friend’s move. Then the participants viewed slides of either neutral or “ideal” images of women. Their research found that the women were not influenced by a conversation about weight before viewing media images. Their research found that body image was related to how closely the participant’s body image matched the ideal (Henderson-King, 1997). Henderson-King’s Media Effects on Women’s Body Esteem found that identification was an important factor when studying if media images have an effect upon body image (Henderson-King, 1997). Wilcox and Laird’s Impact of Media Images of Super-Slender Women on Women’s Self-Esteem concluded that those women affected by facial cues had a negative body image when exposed to super slender media images (Wilcox, 2000). Henderson-King researched whether or not social factors of individual factors were related to a woman’s body esteem. They found that media images do not similarly affect a woman’s body esteem. When exposed to media images, they found that women who matched “the thin ideal” media image had a more positive self image. Women who did not match “the thin ideal” reported a more negative self image. Participants either overheard a conversation about people judgment about a person’s weight or about a friend’s move. Then the participants viewed slides of either neutral or “ideal” images of...
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