Effects Of Media On Body Image

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Modern people live media-saturated lives, even children as young as 6 years old, have had some type of media exposure. Extensive exposure to media outlets can lead to body image issues. Body image is defined as, the subjective picture or mental image of one's own body (Smolak 2003). Body image is formed as people compare themselves to others. Because, people are exposed to countless media images; these images become the basis for such comparisons. These mental comparisons, have a strong influence on an individual’s personal perception of beauty. Media outlets create images and pressures about what our bodies should look like; however, sometimes these images have been manipulated, creating an unrealistic expectation of beauty. When an individual believes that their body is substandard, they can become depressed, suffer from low self-esteem, or develop eating disorders. Psychological Theories on How Media Affects Body Image Over the years there have been several studies on the effects the media has on shaping an individual’s body image. A long with these studies came scientific social theories; some of these theories include the social comparison theory, self-schema theory, self-discrepancy theory. The social comparison was developed in the 1950’s by Leon Festinger. This theory states that that we determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others. Individuals will compare themselves to others as a way to measure success. In the Self-schema

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