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Body Images and Popular Culture in China Essay

Chen clams that Chinese girls have stronger preferences for a thin ideal predict body dissatisfaction because it has been rooted in Chinese history for centuries as their traditional idea. However, I believe that this is not the case, because the mass media and western ideas have a strong impact on today’s China. Young Chinese women have often said like a habit, “I want to be skinny. ” Why do Chinese do they desperately wish to be slim or prefer to be thinner? There are many popular and famous celebrities who are typically skinny in China. The mass media pervades the everyday lives of people living in Chinese society.

It plays an important role in influencing their attitudes on how they view themselves in term of body image. Not only influencing them on styles, fashions, and makeups but body images dealing with society’s standard what is beautiful and cute. They are powerful conveyors of the sociocultural ideals, so they can illustrate people’s mind about body images. Especially Chinese women are engaged in a rational struggle to understand the significance of pubertal weight and shape changes in a culture and full of confusing messages about female sexuality and female desires.

The mass media and interpersonal influences on body image affect many young Chinese women. They create the body images as a message to the society, and the message spread among young Chinese women. Appearance pressure associates with body dissatisfaction. The message spread through typically TV, magazines, advertising, and films. In Dong’s “Who Is Afraid of Chinese Modern Girl,” she describes high class of modern Chinese girl’s qualities are appeared in the mass media. The figures are considered as good and respectable women figures in China.

She states, “The magazine juxtaposed photos of real women with advertising images and fashion sketches and created a space for imaging the modern by blending reality, desire, and fantasy” (Dong 196). According to magazines’ surveys, majority of magazine readers are women and girls. For instant, there are many articles in fashion magazines how to dress and how to lose weight, which are targeted on young girls. Models in fashion magazines are pretty and beautiful in their eyes, and they believe that the models are considered what is beautiful in the society.

The models are like a dream for many young girls. In Cash Pruzinsky’s book Body image, they discuss an important relationship between young girls and mass media. They explains, “In early adolescence, girls consider magazine articles and advertisements to be an important source of information for defining and obtaining the perfect body are more likely to be dissatisfied with their body. Many girls compare themselves to the slender, glamorous women in magazines and on TV” (Cash and Pruzinsky 79).

In addition, girls are more likely than boys to feel pressure from the mass media and close interpersonal networks such as family and friends about their appearance because they generally have conversations about their appearance in more infrequency. Frequent appearance comparisons and discussions are important influences on body dissatisfaction. Cash and Pruzinsky argue that socializing and associating with others would send the media-based messages to others. They explain, “Socialization about the meaning of one’s body involves more than cultural and media-based messages.

Expectations, opinions, and verbal and nonverbal communications are conveyed in interactions with family members, friends, other peers, and even strangers” (Cash and Pruzinsky 40). The female images represented by the mass media restrict women, and they are giving them a wrong message. This culture further prescribes the myriad body altering means of attaining societal expectations by dieting, exercising, using beauty and fashion products. For more advantages of Chinese companies, they would use mass media as a technique of advertising skills to sell their diet and cosmetic products effectively.

Body image, the multifaceted psychological experience of embodiment, profoundly influences the quality of human life. The mass media shapes the idealized images and acceptable appearance. The body images what is called the perfect woman figures are created and presented by the mass media, and they can affect on the attitudes and behaviors of young Chinese women. China is a densely populated and rapidly developing country where has been absorbed various different cultures.

In Louie’s book Modern Chinese Culture, she discusses that mass media serves as an interface between the self-identities of youth, consumer culture, global fashions and cultural trends. She states, “A distinct urban youth culture is taking shape, nurtured largely by an electronically based consumer culture. As such, this youth culture is the embodiment of globalization: it draws its icons, styles, images and values mainly from the ‘global’ consumer culture and entertainment culture”(Louie 331). Without a doubt, China has been strongly westernized, so it is most apparent that body image problems are increasing.

The mass media expresses feminine standards of attractiveness such as ultra-thinness. It can encourage awareness of expected standards for appearance and behavior and willingness to adapt other’s preference in the service if international harmony. The mass media set standard images of attractive women, and they have affected to women’s life. This belief of sociocultural perspective is that cultural values influence individual values and behavior. Attractive women based on mass media’s influences have better life in general than women who are not attractive.

They are the recipients of all manner of positive behaviors, and they appear to develop positive characteristics as a consequence. They are often treated more favorably than their less attractive counterparts. They receive more attention, positive interactions, and help from others. They experience greater occupational success and popularity, and they also have more dating and sexual experience. They have higher social self-esteem, better social skills, and better health both physically and mentally.

The perspective addresses the source of Chinese cultural values regarding attractiveness, and there appears to be cross-cultural agreement in what constitutes physical attractiveness. The mass media’s idealized depiction of thin female figures may influence Chinese women’s body image in a several of ways. The body images have caused young Chinese women some problems such as emotional depression, lowering self-esteem, and eating disorders. The current societal standards for female beauty enormously emphasize the extreme thinness, and the level of thinness is almost impossible for most women to achieve by healthy means.

The potentially negative consequences of the thin ideal, elaborated elsewhere in this volume, include negative body image, low self-esteem, and psychological and physical disorders of life threatening proportions. They have a powerful impact on them for their welling and self-esteem. “Because negative body images are likely to induce negative mood states such as anxiety and depression, the activation of a negative mood can activate the body self-schema, resulting in the exacerbation of body image disturbances”(Cash and Pruzinsky 50). Many young Chinese women feel public self-consciousness and appearance based social pressure.

Public self-consciousness is a cognitive development correlated with body dissatisfaction among young girls as their brains region that process social information mature. Their brains focus on perception to one’s appearance and behaviors. They tend to adapt as media’s perspective as a positive image, and they decrease self-esteem and oppositely increase their body image concerns. The social pressure to look like perfect woman figures is associated with women’s happiness and success. They feel more pressure linked directly with shape, weight, and weight loss. “Thinness is a feminine and attractiveness ideal in China” (Chen 4).

Girls who are perceived more pressure from the mass media are predicted more likely to have eating disorders. Rates have been increasing in China. Dissatisfaction with weight and shape is a moderately strong correlate and predictor of the perceived need to be thinner and the actions of dieting and purging. In conclusion, the social pressures of body images communicate through exposure to mass media portrayals of physical attractiveness contribute to body dissatisfaction for Chinese women. There are some historical and Chinese traditional aspects of body images as Chen argues.

However, I argued that the mass media presentation of thin images as the ideal is a major contributor to current levels of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders in China. There is a significant relationship between Chinese women’s body image and the mass. The commonness of the mass media confirms that nearly all girls and women are exposed to a substantial and idealized images of thinness and beauty. Most are vulnerable to adverse effects when they are exposed to media images. The mass media may be over influenced to promote the ideal attractiveness standards.

The evidences show that media images contributes to negative body image, The most obvious strategy would be to reduce exposure to idealized images of thinness by encouraging the media to present a wider and more realistic range of female body shapes as acceptable and even beautiful. Even though the images narrow range of female body images, it is hard for them to resist being influenced by the mass media. It sets the standards of beauty, which has been greatly influenced by western countries; therefore, Chinese women have been losing their traditional features. It limits and controls their attitudes and behaviors.


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