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Media, Body Image and Self-Worth How the Media Influences the Development of a Woman's Self-Esteem Every women's dream... to be 5'10, 115 pounds or underweight as to be considered thin, have long slender legs, a flat stomach and to have generously proportioned breasts. Why? Simply because media has deceived young women into thinking as though that is the standard of beauty, and every woman wants to be beautiful. This generation of young women and girls are plagued with the dissatisfaction of their bodies. They struggle with body image, low self-esteem, and dieting. What causes their self-hatred for their bodies? A selection of sources show the outcome that media has on women in America and around the world.
* * * Beauty and Body Image in the Media. (N.D.). Retrieved September 18, 2004. from http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stere otyping/women and girls. This web site is about the standards of beauty being imposed on women, and the effects that those standards have on average women. It states that exposure to media images of thin, young, air-brushed female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women. Women are sold to the diet industry by the magazines we read and the television we watch, almost all of which make women feel anxious about their weight.
Media images of female beauty are unattainable for all but a very small number of women. This article uses an example of how if a woman had Barbie-doll proportions, her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel. A real women built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhea and eventually die from malnutrition. Television and movies reinforce the importance of a thin body as a measure of a woman's' worth. Berger, J., (2002). Tradition vs. TV (Indications).
Family Practice News, 32, 59. Retrieved September 18, 2004, from InfoTrac Wed database. Berger looks at the true to life evidence of television's ability to convince young girls that "super-thin bodies are cool." She goes on to explains how in the Fiji Islands 2000 years of tradition were overcome by 3 years of TV images. No longer do girls want their culturally traditional robust physique, but now 69% of girl's admire and diet to achieve a slender body like those seen on TV. Body Image & Advertising. (N.D.). Retrieved September 18, 2004, from http://www.mediascope.org/pubs/ibriefs/bia.htm This website states that advertisements emphasize thinness as a standard for female beauty, and the bodies idealized in the media are frequently uncharacteristic of normal, healthy women. Magazine models influence women's idea of the perfect body shape. The persistent acceptance of this unrealistic body type creates an unrealistic standard for the majority of women.
Women frequently compare their bodies to those they see around them, and the exposure to idealized body images lower women's satisfaction with their own attractiveness. Dissatisfaction with their bodies causes many women and girls to strive to be thin. Body Image Statistics. (N.D.) Retrieved September 18, 2004, from http://womenissues.about.com/cs/bodyimage/a/bodyim agestats.htm This article states statistics showing how many girls struggle with eating disorders, how the media pushes the unnatural body type making it difficult for us to accept natural beauty, and what percent of children are influenced to be thin. Casey, J., (2004). The Media Does Not Contribute to the Incidence of Eating Disorders. Opposing Viewpoints: Eating Disorders, 1, 1.
Retrieves September 18, 2004, from Opposing Viewpoints database. In this article, Casey disagrees with Dr. Vivienne Nathanson who in her study concludes that images of thinner-than-average women are a significant cause of eating disorders. Casey believes that the media is a world of fantasy that has no direct relation to life, and all who view it need to keep that in mind. He goes on to compare the media to art. Casey states that it would be na"ive to think that the fleshly, voluptuous reclining nudes of Rubens had the effect of encouraging young women of the 17th century to stuff themselves with fatty food.
Casey resorts to the conclusion that Dr. Nathanson and others if they cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality are just playing the anxiety game. Green, J., (2004). Women beware: Dangerous messages in the checkout line. Pentecostal Evangel, 9/19/2004, 6-7. Green's article believes that magazines along with television and films tell women that their bodies need to be "fixed." She states that continual exposure to the media produces a body dissatisfaction rate higher that 60 percent among high school students and 80 percent among college students, and a study that was done found that the more frequently girls read magazines, the more likely they were to diet. Green uses the testimony of a girl named Kate to support her belief. Harrison, K., (2003). Television viewer's ideal body proportions: The case of the curvaceously thin woman.
Sex Roles New York, 48, 255-264. Retrieved September18, 2004, from ProQuest database. Harison's article reveals the results of various surveys and experiments. The results show that exposure to media images of the female body ideal is linked among female audience members to the desire to be slimmer, and have a poorer body image. Henderson-King, D., & Henderson-King, E., (1997). Media effects on Women's body esteem: social and individual difference factors. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27, 399.
Retrieved September 18, 2004, from InfoTrac, Web database. This article is about a study that examined individual difference and social factors in moderating the effects of media images on women's body satisfaction. The findings demonstrate that media images do not similarly affect all women's body esteem. Media exposure drives how satisfied women and girls are about body image. Pharma Business Week, 1, 13. Retrieved September 18, 2004, from InfoTrac Web database. This article states that brief exposure to thin-ideal media images has been shown to have a small but consistent negative impact on women and girls' body dissatisfaction.
A study was done where 80 young women viewed either 20 appearance-related TV commercials, containing female thin ideals, or 20 non-appearance commercials. For girls, initial body dissatisfaction change in response to viewing appearance commercials at time 1 predicted subsequent body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness 2 years later, above and beyond the variance predicted by initial body dissatisfaction. Rabak-Wagener, J., Eickhoff-Shemek, J., & Kelly-Vance, L., (2004). Participation in a media analysis program helped young women change their beliefs about body image, but their behaviors stayed similar. Journal of American College Health, 47, 29. Retrieved September 18, 2004, from RDS database.
This article is about a study that was done with an intervention group and a comparison group of undergraduate college students. It was conducted to investigate whether analyzing and reframing fashion advertisements changed the students' attitudes and behaviors of their own body images. The results of this study showed a significant change in beliefs among those in the intervention group but no significant change in behavior. The comparison group showed no significant change in beliefs or behaviors. Simplistic explanations regarding women and body image neglect other factors. Mental Health Weekly Digest, 1, 16. Retrieved September 18, 2004, from InfoTrac Web database. This article states that women do not develop eating disorders from the social cultural pressure put on them by the media, but the media just gets blamed for spreading the message that women must be thin and for making women feel bad about themselves.
The article goes on to say state that, "women voluntarily expose themselves to thin media images" (Policy, 2004, 16). This exposure can be pleasurable and most women do not develop eating disorders from it. Spaeth Cherry, S., (2004). Parents Can Help Prevent Eating Disorders. Opposing Viewpoints: Eating Disorders, 1, 1. Retrieved September 18, 2004, from Opposing Viewpoints Resource center. Spaeth Cherry explains in this article how parents can prevent eating disorders. One of the ways she describes is to avoid buying magazines that feature extremely thin models.
Spaeth Cherry explains how young teens, which are usually susceptible to media influence, tend to use slender celebrities as role models for how they themselves should look. Movies, TV shows, music videos, magazine articles and ads for health clubs and weight loss programs perpetuate appearance standards that young women adopt, but may not be able to meet. TV food ads: thin actors make then thin on reality. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 19, 2. Retrieved September 18, 2004, from InfoTrac Web database. This article states that trim people are shown on TV testing high-calorie meals and snacks, adding to the misconception that it ....
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