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the world is yours

Topics: Mass media, News media, Web page, Journalism, Blog, Website / Pages: 4 (977 words) / Published: Mar 5th, 2014
The Media's Influence on Body-Image of Young Women
Ashley Tokaruk

Young people are bombarded with copious numbers of advertisements on a daily basis, many of which unintentionally causing negative body-imagine in naive minds. I am a part of our city's dance community and have seen first hand many mental disorders develop in young people all to attain the 'ideal' body type, often flaunted in advertisements through different forms of media outlets. Watching this sickness occur in girls around me, I began to pick apart the problem more in-depth and ask myself, just how big of an influence is an unrealistic body image seen in the media on girls between the ages of 8 to 18 with a developing eating disorder? The Media Smarts website ( is one of the first websites I came across with loads of information to help me answer my question, and expand my knowledge on the topic.

I found Media Smarts to be a great resource for information because it shares an abundance of sure facts on a broad range of media and how each type influences body-image of females and males individually, provided by a long list of Board of Directors. It is clear that the contents of the site are reviewed and updated quite frequently. Offering links and resources to more information for parents and teachers and how to help children view media without being mentally effected by it is an added bonus to this webpage. The homepage and all linked pages are bright and eye-catching, making it easy and enjoyable to read and navigate from page to page.

The MediaSmarts website is designed to inform people of all ages on the affects of media seen in television shows, movies, video games, magazines and music on male and female youth specifically. While reading through the many pages on the website, I was able to get a grasp on a broad range of factors affected by the media. Some of these include body image, gender representation, diversity in media, intellectual property, marketing and consumerism, and lastly, violence. Their goal is to help children think critically when observing all forms of media by educating them on the issues that often arise from these types of exposure. The Board of Directors of this site is made up of elected volunteers, many of which are representatives of media companies dominating what we see and hear in our everyday lives, and people involved in organizations whose main concerns are helping communities and youth. The programs offered by MediaSmarts are funded, sponsored and partnered with well-known companies such as Cira, Google, The National Film Board of Canada, and Bell Media, proving the websites credibility.

It came as no shock to me that MediaSmarts goal is to not only to expand the children's understanding on how to be media conscious, but to give advice to teachers and parents passing along the websites message to their kids, and contributing to the organization. Interconnected pages provide adults with resources to help themselves authenticate what is shown in the media, therefore making it easier to enlighten youth. I was impressed when I found the e-tutorials and educational games to further assist advisors pass down their knowledge to kids in an effective and entertaining way. A heading on he homepage called 'Teacher Resources' allows educators to chose a grade level from the drop down menu, as well as a topic and province, and are given options of lesson kits to enhance their teachings. The webpage also provides opportunities for adults to make money donations or sponsor by donating a minimum of $5000 to ensure the organizations upkeep and validity. I was pleased to read that internships, field placements and other chances to make a difference are available to University students in undergraduate or graduate programs who are passionate about media literacy, as well as any college students expanding their knowledge on graphic design or multimedia production.

The layout and design of the website stays consistent and vibrant, which I found made surfing through the pages more enjoyable and appealing. A bright coloured logo followed by a list of links with a drop down menu to pages packed with more information on different aspects of media literacy allows the viewer to manoeuvre easily from page to page without getting bored. As well, a slide show advocating Media Literacy week, site updates, and new articles quickly caught my attention, pulling my eyes directly to the moving photos and bright bold letters. The side toolbar on the homepage provides even more links to pages and blog entries which not only supply the reader with more options for research, but show the websites strength in digital design. I find webpages with an abundance of text are easier to concentrate on when there is more to the page than little black words floating on a white background, and that is something that makes the Media Smarts website great. It is animated and dynamic without being overwhelming. The Media Smart website has got it all, in my opinion. From a vast variety of research options, learning methods, and strong visual creativity, I believe that anyone can browse through the pages and pick up on many facts without losing interest. Sponsors and Board of Directors make it evident that all the material on the website is factual. E-tutorials and games make understanding of media issues compelling for people of all ages, and to top it all off, it is displayed in a way that makes researching any type of digital or media literacy less of a hassle and more of an amusing experience. Scanning through pages on the website boosted my eagerness to discover more on the topic of the media's affect on young girls body- image, and quite honestly I only hope I can come across more websites that are as legitimate and intriguing as Media Smarts is.

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