Media and Its Negative Effects

Topics: Body image, Female body shape, Body shape Pages: 4 (1223 words) Published: February 14, 2009
Media and the Negative Effects on Body Image
Many things contribute to how a woman feels about her body. Peer pressure, family history, and age all play important roles in how people feel about how they look. The media can also play a dominant role on body image, as it almost always ties success, health, and happiness with being thin. To clarify body image, it is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or picture yourself in your mind. With the constant exposure to media images of the “ideal” female body it is presenting an unrealistic “ideal” difficult to achieve and maintain it can lead to depression, lower self-esteem, and increases unhealthy eating habits.

The average model portrayed in the media is approximately 5'11" and 110 pounds while the average American woman is 5'4" and 140 pounds (Holmstrom, 2004). The portrayal of the ’ideal’ body size for women has changed in the media from the 1950’s of the full-figured, curved figure of Marilyn Monroe to the more modern thinner “stick-like” look of Kate Moss (Almond, 2000). Young girls look at these women as role models. As a result, Instead of realizing the distortion that these models have undergone like touch-ups, airbrushing, and digital editing these girls spend time worrying about how to lose weight.

There are several ways that an individual may cope with the situation. They may attempt to modify their body to match the ideal through diet pills or extreme diet fads. They may conceal their body with loose clothing or avoid the situation by avoiding playing sports or participating in gym class. These individuals may also compensate by pursuing more attainable ideals on other valued dimensions of appearance such as a new hair style. While these various strategies serve to manage distress in the short term, they do little to produce body acceptance. If anything, avoidance and concealment simply reinforce one’s sense of physical unacceptability.

Opponents may argue that the media is...

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