Body Image in Women

Categories: Body ImageWomen
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Jerrica Quinton November 10, 2011 English 1010 Professor Eden The Impact of Media Images and their Effects on Body Image in Women Proposal: In our society, media has a big influence on how people act, live, and feel about them selves. The ideal image of what is considered “beautiful” is decided upon what the media provides us with. It is an ongoing struggle to follow our own beliefs and be our own person when there is so much influence in magazines, TV shows, and movies that are “examples” to teenagers and even adults.

The unrealistic beauty that the media portrays today is blinding our generation.

The media is brainwashing people to look a certain way and that not a single flaw is allowed. With the way the media and the entertainment world runs, society’s view of beauty is limited to perfectness. If society weren’t seen as so picture perfect and “fake”, then maybe there would be fewer problems with self-esteem within women and there would be a more positive outcome.

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Three specific areas in which media is the most influential are modeling, sports, and the celebrity scene In modeling, models are pressured to have a certain thinness that makes the viewer observe beauty in an unhealthy way.

Sports are very athletic, and seen as one healthy way to become skinny and fit, but in reality there are lots of problems with steroids, and eating disorders. In the Celebrity world, most who are seen on the red carpet are never as much as they seem; there is always some kind of unreal appearance to them.

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Along with the image of looking skinny, more and more stores are holding smaller sizes, limiting larger girls to what they can wear. Girls are also more caught up with what they look like and care less about things such as education and career.

I knew someone who went into Hollister to buy a shirt, and they didn’t carry an extra large. I remember when she finally fit into a large, she was finally so happy because of how much she loved that store. Steroids and drugs are unfair and unhealthy and are mostly seen in the professional sports area. The media has made professional athletes to been seen as gods, they can run fast, jump higher, swing harder, etc. then the average person. No matter what sport it is athletes are put up on a pedestal for being extremely mind blowing and doing the unthinkable that nobody else can, being a “Legend”.

It makes them seem untouchable, so the media puts them in ads to pursue the consumers to want to be more like the pros. Also, within sports, working too much while trying to live up to their name can cause serious physical problems. For example Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps had been suspended from competitions for three months after he was picture apparently using illegal drugs. The pressure of performing your best can be a lot to handle on athletes; the fame can go to their heads, leading athletes to believe they can do whatever they want without any consequences.

Which leads consumers that look up to them, to think so as well. In the celebrity world, it’s considered normal to be a size zero and to have the body that would only be seen in magazines. It’s wrong to want to distort your body to make it look perfect. To celebrities, however, it is their appearance that makes them famous; to the public, looking like a celebrity could make them feel wanted and famous too, but in reality you should appreciate your body for what it is and not worry about what others may specifically look like.

For example, Miley Cyrus is a big time American Disney Channel Star and her peers are teenagers and young women who look up to her. Now that she is all grown up and into the whole celebrity scene, she is dressing more scandalous and has even been caught drinking. The influence that society has on us, the viewers, is similar to that of parents to their children. It’s like the saying, “monkey see, monkey do”. Children grow up and learn from their parents. They see the way their parents act and so they think that it’s right and it’s the way they should act as well. I see this a lot today with racism.

If a child’s parents are discriminant towards a different race, then most likely that child will be too. Whatever their parents do, they deem correct and right. You are never born to think a certain way. It has to be taught and to be engrained in your body. The topic of how media negatively affects the image of young girls will provide a reason to why the media should stop limiting the idea of what counts as being “beautiful”. Most women and young teenagers are stressed about their skin, weight, and overall appearance, which can lead to eating disorders and other dangerous disorders that can cause serious problems.

This is being caused by the typical commercials and billboard adds we see everyday. The make-up ads and the weight loss commercials, such as “Maybelline,” and “Weight Watchers”, are the causing factors to young women desperately wanting plastic surgery or being diagnosed with anorexia. My thesis on this issue is that the media and advertisements negatively influences young women to cause harm to their bodies by strictly defining ‘Body Perfect’ ideals that are both artificial and biologically inappropriate and unrealistic.

To prove this thesis, I will use evidence from articles called “The Media’s Influence on Body Image Disturbance and Eating Disorders,” a article called, “ The Effects of Beautiful Models in Ads on Female Pre-Adolescents and Adolescents”, a article called “Images in Magazines and On Television Increase Body Dissatisfactions”, and other advertisements on society’s idea of beauty. With statistics and persuasive articles from online sources, I will prove how the media influences women and young girls to eat, dress and talk a certain way.

The effectiveness of media continues to increase as more and more commercials are created with the idea of the ultimate perfect beauty. I feel this will be a successful topic to address because media images and their affect on body image is a serious influential issue in our society, and it has such a strong effect on every one of all ages, and even all genders. It has the power to either harm or help everyone, depending on which way the topic is being broadcast. In my paper, I plan to address the following: How body image has changed overtime; how body image was perceived 10-20 years ago compared to what it is now. * How different products in society use body image as a way to sell. * How strong of an effect body image and the media has on people. Is the effect stronger on the younger generation or older? How is each age group/gender affected in similar or different ways? * Is body image the most influential factor in low self-esteem in women and young teenagers? Can it be changed? * How other cultures and countries perceive what is beauty and perfect body image? What are different peoples’ perspectives on the topic? How have they been personally affected by it? * Is using body image the ideal way for companies to sell their products? Advertising is a destructive force in our society, and the most destructive effect of advertising is its promotion of negative stereotypes, specifically in women. Advertising is an over 100 billion dollar a year industry and affects each and every one of us throughout our lives. Advertisments and the sell more then just products; they sell images, values, love and sexuality, popularity, success, and worth.

Ads tell us who we are and who we should be, even if that is not their intention, but for the most part, it is. Media within our society constantly degrades women and sends negative messages about the ways in which women should be treated; women are becoming objectified in the sense they are viewed as objects with little value. The media, which seems to endlessly show women as sexual objects, has the capability of limiting a woman’s potential and damaging their self worth.

And if being bombarded with images of other skimpily dressed women is causing comparison, competition, and self-loathing, how is more of the same going to actually help? The focus that women place on their bodies in this culture is unhealthy and imbalanced. The body is important, and it is a big deal. As with all attempts to deny reality, there are consequences. Why else would uninhibited exposure be causing so many emotional and self-esteem issues for so many women? Advertising highly profiles ‘Body Perfect’ ideals that are both insincere and physically wrong.

Annotated Bibliography: “Body Image and Advertising. ” Media Scope. http://www. mediascope. org/pubs/ibriefs/bia. htm Online. 17 March 2004. Summary: Notes the overwhelming use of sexuality and beauty as a marketing tool for advertisers and its effects on young women by promoting the “thin ideal. ” Cites statistics from studies about young women’s responses to advertising in women’s magazines that includes consequences such as eating disorders and a distorted body image.

Response: It is a big deal for the media to put out advertisements that the “thin ideal” is what women around the world should look like. I think that the girls/women we see on billboards or in magazines is just a false reality. Seeing the women on billboards who are stick skinny, is a toxic and depressing way to sell merchandise, and it works. Women are so caught up with the “thin ideal” that it leads young teenagers and women to accept eating disorders and to distort their body, to look pleasing enough to society. Heinberg, Leslie J. Thompson, J. Kevin. The Media’s Influence on Body Image Disturbance and Eating Disorders: We’ve Reviled Them, Now Can We Rehabilitate Them? ” Journal of Social Issues. 55 (Summer 1999) Issue 2: 339-354. LexisNexis. Online. 17 March 2004. Summary: Notes the obvious tie between images and messages in mass media to body image and eating disorders. Mentions the changes in media messages from pre-20th Century to the present in their representation of the female body. Implies that responsible social marketing is better for communication and the media’s influence on a person’s psychology.

Response: The way media messages have changed over the years is incredible. The media in the 21st Century has to be the most advanced of its time. The way they can advertise things so many different ways is genius. Although the access we have to it can be extremely hurtful. Having advertisements around us 24/7 can lead young women to have eating disorders and think less of their body. I do believe that the media has a big influence on how women see themselves and does lead women to eating disorders.

The media has changed since the 20th century but I feel it has for the worse. Martin, Mary C. Gentry, James W. “Stuck in the Model Trap: The Effects of Beautiful Models in Ads on Female Pre-Adolescents and Adolescents. ” Journal of Advertising. 26 (Summer 1997) Issue 2: 19. LexisNexis. Online. 17 March 2004. Summary: Discusses a study created to Asses the unintended effects advertising has on adolescent women, suggesting that these women hold themselves to the standards of advertising models and thus their self-esteem and body image are affected.

Response: As real as models say they are they are promoting being skinny, tall, and attractive. I believe it is all fake, looking up to models isn’t a decent way to live. It doesn’t benefit you in anyway it is not real, yes, the models look pretty, and skinny but the media still photo shops most of them afterwards. Advertising with thin models will always have a negative affect on young women. The model industry needs to start portraying women in a more positive way in order to receive a more positive outcome.

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Body Image in Women. (2018, Oct 21). Retrieved from

Body Image in Women
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