Self Esteem Impacted by the Media

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When you stand in the checkout line at the grocery store, there are racks of magazines on both sides of you. How many of you read the headlines of these magazines, or even pick them up and flip through them while waiting? How many of you simply look at the cover model? (Direct address) The majority of this class raised their hand for either one or both of those questions. Imagine the numbers of people nationwide, and even worldwide who do those exact things. Imagine the number of people who actually subscribe to these magazines, and read them every time a new edition comes out. Today, I will convince you that Women’s Health Magazines negatively affect the body image and self-esteem of their readers. The first reason why Women’s Health Magazines negatively affect the body image and self-esteem of their readers is because they constantly promote losing weight to their audience. For example, see here the different headlines that encourage weight loss, and include different ways or tips to lose weight. Each of these magazines suggests to its readers that they need to lose weight. According to nationaleatingdisorders.org, Of American, elementary school girls who read magazines, 69% say that the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape. 47% say the pictures make them want to lose weight (Martin, 2010). This is simply from elementary school girls. Body image becomes an even larger issue as females go through puberty; it has been reported that during adolescence, issues with weight, fearing further weight gain, and being preoccupied with weight loss peak. (Striegel-Moore & Franko, 2002). Findings from another study indicate that 83% of teenage girls report reading fashion magazines for about 4.3 hours each week (Thompson & Heinberg, 1999). Teenage girls are naturally inclined to feel badly about their body, but being surrounded by magazines which continuously encourage weight loss and dieting tips can only make these issues worse.

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