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Media, Body Image And Self-Worth

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Running Head: (MEDIA, BODY IMAGE AND SELF-WORTH)

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.

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Beauty and Body Image in the Media. (N.D.). Retrieved September 18, 2004. from http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/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/bodyimagestats.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 naпve 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

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