Portrayal of Women in the Media

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The facts are haunting. The American research group Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. says that one in every four college-aged women use unhealthy methods of weight and diet control – including fasting, skipping meals, and laxative abuse. 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. In 2003, Teen Magazine reported that 35% of girls 6 to 12 years of age have already been on at least one diet. It is estimated that up to 450,000 young girls and women were/are affected by an eating disorder; Women’s magazines have over 10 times more ads promoting dieting and weight loss than men’s magazines. Women’s magazines are full of articles urging that if they can just lose those last twenty pounds, they will have it all – the perfect marriage, loving children, and a rewarding career; reality check – only a small handful of women have those things, but they did not come from losing weight. As decades have passed, females have progressively gotten thinner. Is this the last stand? The media truly has an enormous negative effect on young girls and women in North America.

Our “ideal” image of our bodies is created by our likes, as well as our role models and the media. Researchers generated a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions; they found that “the woman’s back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel.” A real woman built with those proportions would suffer from chronic diarrhea and could die from malnutrition. There is no logical reason why Barbie dolls are designed in such a way that would provide negative thoughts to the 99% of girls aged 3 to 10 that own Barbie dolls. Of all the female characters in TV shows, over 75% are underweight – yet producers feel no obligation to consider the effect...
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