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Media Effects on Body Image

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With the tremendous effect the media has on men & women's body image/self-esteem, there are things the media and those being effected can do to limit the impact. The media can change the portrayal of models in magazines, television, billboards, etc. By portraying unrealistic models, studies can conclude that it causes a negative effect on men and women leading to eating disorders, self-esteem problems, and possibly even sometimes more dramatic actions such as suicide (Groesz, Levine, and Murnen 2,4). So why always have these ultra-thin gorgeous female models and tall handsome masculine models in magazine ads, billboards ads, etc.? If the media would show people as who they really are and at weights and sizes that are attainable it could possibly decrease the negative effect that is such a huge factor in society today. If magazines and the television showed men and women, modeling clothes or advertising for some product, and the models were of a variety of weights and sizes, people might not have that insecurity and feel they need to be that "one" size (ultra-thin and a size "0" or thin and masculine) to fit in. People need to know that it is okay not to be a size 2, 4, or a size 6, and they seek that acknowledgement from the media. The media just needs to help by acknowledging them correctly and in a healthy way.

Parents can help limit the impact the media has on people by talking to their children; explaining to them that the models and people shown in the media aren't always real. Make sure they are aware that photos are airbrushed, altered, and touched-up to look the way they want, to look perfect (Witmer 1). So it might not be exactly what that person looks like. Also, talking to children about the health risks of being very thin and about eating disorders can help (Witmer 1). Parents can help by starting an advertising awareness program in their child's school (Witmer). This can help the child to get more involved in learning about how the media negatively affects men and women of all ages and to not be affected by the media. It can also

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