How does media influence young girls' body image

Topics: Body shape, Female body shape, Body image Pages: 8 (2900 words) Published: April 14, 2014
By the turn of 20th century, more than 200 teen magazines flooded the market. They are playing vital role in creating meanings among teenagers. The exposure to altered photographs of extremely thin models influences the idea of ideal body image that girls hold. Undoubtedly, the readership of teen magazines is no longer teenagers only, but apparently children between the ages of 8 and 12 – typically ascertain as the tweens are getting more engaged with the magazines (Thomas, 2003). Despite the existence of hundred reasons not to trust mass-media photography, a vulnerable group such as teenage girls can be easily influenced by edited photos. Media exposure undoubtedly is associated with the drive for thinness among young female audiences, the lack of set regulations on digital manipulation in magazines leads to delusional role models that young girls are blindly following. To date, researchers who have explored teen magazines’ content and its influence on young girls. They have discovered infinite reiterated trends in the promotion of an idealized body image. Specifically, academics and health educators claims that the mass media influences people’s perception of beauty ideals. It plays central role in promoting the thin ideal and researchers have shown positive relation between teen girls’ mass media consumption and poor body images, occasionally eating disorders are the consequences (Tiggemann, 2006; Mckinley and Hyde, 1996; Dawn Currie, 1999). Further, the relationship between media exposure and body image disturbance was examined by Tiggemann. According to the research entitled “The Role of Media Exposure in Adolescent Girl’s Body Dissatisfaction and Drive for Thinness: Prospective Results”, adolescence is time of high body dissatisfaction, where thinness among girls is prevalent (Tiggemann, 2006, p.526). Fashion magazines reveal young, tall, and extremely thin models leading to girls craving to achieve the same unrealistic appearances. That socioculturally transmitted thin ideal becomes accepted and internalized by many girls, resulting in ambition for thinness by severe and often unhealthy means (Tiggemann, 2006, pp.523-524). In her research, Tiggemann refers to Milkie (1999); Wertheim, Pazton, Schutz, Muir; Hausenblas (1997), and Janelle and Gardner (2004), regarding their contributions towards the importance of media in the development of body dissatisfaction. According to interviews with teen girls the media is partly responsible for the negative feelings towards their bodies. A number of experimental studies have proven the immediate negative effects after brief exposure to idealized media images (Tiggemann, 2006, p. 524). Tiggemann examined the relationship between media exposure and body discomfort. Two hundred and fourteen female high school girls took part in the research, completing the same questionnaire over 1 year period of time, with reference to media exposure and internalization of appearance ideals. Contrary to the expectations, the regression analyses revealed that no media exposure variable predicted change in any body image measure; neither did body image predict change in media exposure. Appearance schemas, on the other hand, predict change in body dissatisfaction. The conclusion is that media exposure and body image co-occur, but neither one is temporally anterior to the other. Hence the study indicated no causal role for media exposure in the body image of adolescent girls (Tiggemann, 2002, pp.523-537). Female body is likely to be looked at, evaluated and potentially objectified. It is possible that this objectification will lead to body dissatisfaction or even eating disorders. In their study, McKinley and Hyde (1996, pp.181–216), leading figures in body image studies, suggest that females view their bodies from an outsider’s perspective. McKinley and Hyde elaborate by explaining that objectified body consciousness contributes to body surveillance and body shame. Body surveillance...
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