Magazine Ads and Body Image

August 14, 2013
By ChloeK SILVER, Greenfield, Massachusetts
ChloeK SILVER, Greenfield, Massachusetts
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
Some say the world will end in fire, others say in ice, but what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire, but if I had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate, to say that for destruction ice is also great, and would suffice

Danielle flipped through a magazine, reading it cover to cover, gazing at the models.
“Honey? It’s time for dinner!” Danielle’s mother called from downstairs.
“ Um...I’m not very hungry right now, I’ eat later,” Danielle said, though she knew tonight she wouldn’t be eating. It had been a four days since Danielle had eaten anything. Nothing for lunch, nothing for breakfast, or dinner. She just had to look like them, she had to be like them, she said staring right at the models on the cover of her magazine.
Many magazines print ads use stick thin models, making girls think that’s the desired body shape. As a girl who reads these magazines, and who has friends who read these, I know girls will often compare their own bodies to ones presented in print. According to an article in The Guardian (2000), A report by the British Medical Association claimed that the promotion of rake-thin models such as Kate Moss and Jodie Kidd was creating a distorted body image which young women tried to imitate. It can be very unhealthy for girls to try to replicate, a body that they may see in a magazine, and can lead to eating disorders. In a article from written by Margaret Renkl, she talks about the eating disorder aneroxia, They get anti-obesity messages at school (which can sometimes backfire, making perfectly healthy children paranoid about ice cream and other "fattening" foods), are bombarded by weight-loss ads on TV, see six-pack abs on the covers of magazines and idolize stars in teeny-tiny jeans. There is a huge problem nowadays with obesity, though having up ads going against obesity, would surely make someone feel like they need to be as thin as possible, so that they are never obese. "Children today are internalizing the idea of not being okay with who they are, and dieting is a way to change that," says Dena L. Cabrera, a psychologist at the Remuda Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders. What I am taking from what Cabrera is saying, is that children exposed to anti obesity ads, and/or magazine ads, are learning to not be okay with they way that they look. When you are not comfortable with your own appearance you feel the need to have to change it, even if you are perfectly healthy.
Most magazines doesn’t show models of all sizes. A model may be called “plus sized”, though in reality those models are far from plus sized. You are never able to see what real women look like, only those who are photoshopped. In a recent article done by Fox News, they interviewed magazine titled PLUS Model Magazine, and the founder and editor in chief had this to say, “The magazine reveals that some of today’s plus size models are wearing the same size as models Christie Brinkley, Paulina Porizkova and Cindy Crawford at the height of their fame in the 1990s.” This is interesting as it seems as though in the 1990s, models had more of a realistic figure, and less of a body that is achievable. Among the revelations: “Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman. Today she weighs 23 percent less” and “most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia.” What I am taking from this article is that the standards of being a model “worthy” enough to be chosen have changed drastically from the standards 23 years. Now, to be a model you need to be almost to a stage of an eating disorder, in order to be a model who would be wanted by all.
Many people would say that There are magazines that do promote healthy body image to young girls and teens. My argument, however, is that these far outweigh the number of magazines that don’t. For every one magazine that promotes a healthy body images and or lifestyle, there are eight magazines that don’t. In a recent study done by Nancy Signorielli of the Kaiser Foundation Study, she found that, One in every three (37%) articles in leading teen girl magazines also included a focus on appearance, and most of the advertisements (50%) used an appeal to beauty to sell their products. In addition, many of those magazines, that are healthy for girls are subscription only, so if a girl goes into a store to buy herself a magazine, the only ones that will be available are those who don’t make girls feel good about themselves, making it so they are easier to access.
You can’t escape these ads, articles, or even commercials that you see on TV, they are everywhere. It’s completely unavoidable, however, you don’t have to give into what these ads tell you. In an article done by Kids Health, “Causes of Eating Disorders”, there was a part in the writing where the author talks about how media influences how you think that you look, Some research suggests that media images contribute to the rise in the incidence of eating disorders. Most celebrities in advertising, movies, TV, and sports programs are very thin, and this may lead girls to think that the ideal of beauty is extreme thinness.

The author's comments:
I was inspired to write this because I am very interested on how advertisements printed in magazines, impact young teen girls especially.

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