The Media and Body Image Research Proposa;

Topics: Body shape, Body image, Beauty Pages: 7 (2617 words) Published: April 29, 2013
The proposed study will see if there is an effect on women’s body image after being exposed to a thin idealistic body image in the media. Female undergraduates with varying levels of body image self-discrepancy will be exposed to a set of advertisements that portray thin women (idealistic body image) to determine whether thin-ideal exposure contributes to increased body dissatisfaction and lowered self-esteem This research may provide evidence for a possible correlation between body dissatisfaction and idealistic body types in advertisements.

The obsession with good looks, and the image of perfect beauty as portrayed by the films, television and magazines, has become a phenomenon in our society. The trend raises questions on the exact role of the media in defining beauty and whether it could be going overboard. The excessive pressure to have the ideal body image has driven women to unhealthy lifestyles due to its rigid portrayal of beauty.

Literature Review:
Literature Researchers Grabe, Ward, and Hyde (2008) from the University of Wisconsin recently conducted studies that involved 15,000 subjects, in which they concluded that the women’s exposure to the media that depicts ultra-thin models and actresses had a significant influence on the women’s concern over their body images and, by extension, their lifestyles, including behaviors such as engaging in excessive dieting. The research shows that many women are more obsessed with their body image than they would care to admit. This is extended by the fact that the society bequeaths certain advantages to attractive people over plain women and girls. Various authoritative researchers have come to the conclusion that attractive children have an easier time in school as they tend to be more popular with their teachers and classmates, attractive women have a better chances of securing jobs and receiving higher remunerations than their plainer counterparts; when taken to court, they are often found less guilty or receive sentences that are less severe; when they are found guilty, the society reacts more favorably towards them, and being associated with the ‘beautiful is good stereotype’, they are thought to possess more desirable character traits such as intelligence, social skills, competence, confidence and moral virtues. It is, therefore, understandable why women pay such care to their image and looks. The media influence on beauty starts at an early age. How teenage girls feel about their body image is largely influenced by many factors from family and friends to the media, both online and offline, and even the religious beliefs they hold. Studies show that most girls may not be negatively affected, the influence from these sources often forces them to pay extreme attention to their looks. 70% of girls between 6th and 12th grade are happy with their body images. Less than 11 percent are not bothered with how they look. Nearly three quarter of girls (73%) compare their looks to girls portrayed in the media at least in some occasions, with 29% comparing their looks with girls from the media either most of or all the time. The chart below shows the sources that influence girls’ looks. It is important to note that some of the sources, like friends, are often influenced by the media themselves. The influence from doctors and other professionals that often emphasize on healthy lifestyles, such as eating right and exercising ranks, is among the lowest influences. The importance of the body image is apparently inculcated into girls at a substantially young age, with teenage girls taking extreme care of their looks. The research shows that girls spend an average of nearly half an hour (28 minutes) daily on their body image in preparation for school. The research, however, indicates that younger girls are more content with their looks than older girls, since the older they get, the more perfection they seek.

There are various reasons that make the media have...
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