The Media’s influence on body image among females
Advertisement in teen magazines and on television typically glamorizes the “ideal body” as thin models that do not resemble the average woman. The ideal body is reinforced by many social influences, including family, peers, school athletics, business and health care professionals (Levine & Smolak, 1996; Thompson & Stice, 2001, as cited in Groesz et al. 2001, p.2). However the greatest influence on the ideal slender beauty is the media. “Mass Media” involves advertisement on billboards, magazines and television (Groesz et al. 2001, p.2). The mass media are believed to encourage girls to form unrealistically thin body ideals, which are unattainable for many females (Field et al. 2001, p.54). Standards of thinness are seen in approximately 95% of images in the media; these images represent the sociocultural model of attractiveness. When females are constantly exposed to images that conform to the same sociocultural standards of attractiveness via the media, they are sent a message about how they must appear in order to be judged as attractive (Watson, 2006, p.386). Adolescence is a time of significant physical and psychological change, the development of a satisfactory body image at this time is important. As social beings, adolescents seek the approval of appearance as a means of developing a personal identity and sense of social belonging (Prince, 2009, p.38). Thus, the media is not the only sources of pressure to be thin. Weight control behaviours among adolescents are modeled partially on their mothers’ behaviours. In addition to being affected by the comments and behaviours of parents, adolescents are also influenced by their peers (Field et al. 2001, p.55). Thus what are consequences of society’s emphasis of the “ideal body” on females? Research suggests that the media’s portrayal of the ultra-slender body as the ideal image of beauty promotes body dissatisfaction and subsequent eating disturbances among...
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