Body Image and the Media

March 5, 2010
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When you look into the mirror, what do you see? A young woman and a body image you’re happy with or a body that is not good enough in today’s culture? Your perception of how your body looks forms your body image. Society’s standards for body shape and the importance of beauty is promoted by various media. The media links beauty to symbols of happiness, love and success for women. Media portrays these images as achievable and real. Until women accept their body image, they will continue to measure themselves against societies “perfect image.” Media representations of body image contribute to social trends of unhealthy lifestyles. Media reinforces the importance of a thin body as a measure of a woman’s worth. Hence, the phrases, "thin is in" and "the perfect body" are two examples of "eye-catching" headlines that are observed in many women magazines such as Teen Magazine. The media influences us through television, fashion and health magazines, music videos, film, commercials, and various other advertisements. Sadly, as a result, this repeated exposure, the "thin" ideal, can lead many young women into triggering eating disorders, depression, low self-esteem, stress, and suicide.

The media wants to present a “perfect” image that is not meant for every American to have. Researchers report that women’s magazines have ten and one-half times more ads and articles promoting weight loss than men’s magazines do, and over three-quarters of the covers of women’s magazines include at least one message about how to change a woman’s bodily appearance either by diet, exercise, or cosmetic surgery (Media-Awareness). Approximately 7 million girls and women struggle with disorders in the United States due to Media (About). This being said the average American woman is 5’4 tall and weighs 140 pounds but the average American model is 5’11 tall and weighs 117 pounds and most fashion models are thinner than Ninety-Eight percent of American women (About). This issue begins early on, starting in elementary school. Forty-Two percent of First and Third graders want to be thinner (About). The media sets unrealistic standards for what body weight and appearance is considered “normal.” The media has convinced women today that the only way to be happy and successful is to be thin and toned.

The bombardment of messages about skinniness, dieting and beauty tells “ordinary” women that they are always in a need of change and that the womanly body is an object to be perfected. Forty-Seven percent of girls in Fifth to Twelfth grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures and Sixty-Nine percent of girls in Fifth to Twelfth grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body image (About). Females who can not loose weight by exercising tend to look for other options such as starving themselves, pills for loosing weight quick fast and in a hurry, depression and even suicide because, they can not take the overwhelming stress that comes along with trying to be thin. In regards to the body image and the media, are you going to be just another statistic and try to be thin or just strive to be healthy? One should not have stress, low self-esteem, or lack of confidence due to the media trying to betray an image that is unrealistic, instead, strive to be healthy in which fits your own identity.


"Body Image and the Media." About. Web.


"Media-Awareness." Time. 11 Nov. 1996. Web.


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kota13 said...
Nov. 10, 2010 at 11:23 am
you rock! you wrote that article and it inspired me. write more articles and i'll keep reading.
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