How Does Media Promote Unhealthy Habits in Regulating Body Image?
There are many detrimental physical, and psychological effects from observing the media. If body image concerns are intense enough, they may catalyze behaviours that are aimed at changing one’s physique to reduce discontent (Borzekowski, Bayer, 2005, pg.3). How does the media promote unhealthy habits in regulating body image? Studies have been done especially and specifically concerning the media’s influence on eating disorders. Media has a direct effect with the audience and is a strong contributing factor in eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, anorexia, etc. Media is also linked very closely with skewed body image, and body image ideals. They make the unattainable seem accomplishable, normal, and the natural way of living. The constant bombardment of the media makes even myself participate in disordered eating habits such as overeating to gain mass. I do this to increase the amount of muscle mass I can attain through resistance training programs. A majority of the population would also participate in disordered eating habits in order to attain an elusive body ideal. Using a symbolic interactionist insight, one may argue that we obtain these ideals and unhealthy habits, through interactions with the media. Media figures and Television figures are prominent socializing factors in a society’s lives. They influence what a population wears, what music they listen to, and the type of lifestyle they live. Media figures are idolized in societies around the world, and since one would try to replicate them as much as they can, they can find their selves reaching for a seemingly impossible ideal, to such an extent that one may even undergo cosmetic surgery to be like them. Observing the media can drastically alter body image. Body image is portrayed as a key aspect of self-worth and mental health across the lifespan (Usmiani S, Daniluk J, Barter S., Asci FH, Gokmen H, from Borzekowksi, Bayer, 2005, pg.3). A low sense of body image can result in low self-esteem and may induce or promote means of increasing their body image. If body image concerns are intense enough, they may catalyze behaviours that are aimed at changing one’s physique to reduce discontent (Borzekowski, Bayer, 2005, pg.3). Media’s portrayal of what is normal and what is ideal, alters one’s perceptions of body image. It makes the seemingly impossible seem normal. Today, the ideal woman is becoming increasingly slimmer, to the extent that such as size is only representative of only 5% of women (Lawrie et. al, 2006, pg. 320). In men, however, the ideal consists of being muscular, but also having very little body fat. Aesthetics shown in both genders in the media are those that are only representative of a very minimal population. Increasingly, women, and men have turned to cosmetic surgery to assist them in narrowing the difference between what they look like, and what the media wants them to look like. The most successful actors and celebrities of today are those who exhibit a specific body type. Models, such as Angelina Jolie or Simon Nessman, are those who represent the most minimal population. In women, it is expected upon you by the media to be slim, tall, have a good waist, and bust line etc.. In men, perfect is illustrated by being toned, having good skin, a prominent jaw line, and broad shoulders etc.. The gap between the body weight of women models , especially, and the general population has expanded. Women models now weigh 23% less than the average women, compared to 8% not that long ago (Kilboume J. from Borzekowksi et al., 2005, pg.4). Some of these ‘natural’ characteristics are unattainable if you do not naturally have these characteristics, a prominent jaw line, for example. One recent phenomenon is the use of cosmetic surgery to alter one’s appearance. In 2003, there were 8.3 million procedures done, with 322,975 and 61,646 liposuction procedures were done on men and women....
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