When people think of the new body image, we automatically think models. Well, yes, models are a major factor in the body image persona, but it’s not just models. The media broadcasts the “thin ideal” in every possible way that we can think of. Researchers have found that the ongoing exposure to the “thin ideal” can shape and distort adolescent female’s perceptions of beauty, particularly in television media. Take the movie Cinderella for example. Cinderella is portrayed as a beautiful, thin, feminine female while her “ugly” stepsisters are shown as short, overweight and masculine. However, it is not just
“To be happy and successful, you must be thin,” is a message women are given at a very young age (Society and Eating Disorders). In fact, eating disorders are still continuously growing because of the value society places on being thin. There are many influences in society that pressures females to strive for the “ideal” figure. According to Sheldon’s research on, “Pressure to be Perfect: Influences on College Students’ Body Esteem,” the ideal figure of an average female portrayed in the media is 5’11” and 120 pounds. In reality, the average American woman weighs 140 pounds at 5’4”. The societal pressures come from television shows, diet commercials, social media, peers, magazines and models. However, most females do not take into account of the beauty photo-shop and airbrushing. This ongoing issue is to always be a concern because of the increase in eating disorders.
People need to be informed on the issue that unrealistic beauty standards, set by the society, are harmful. These standards cause a “schema that combines three fundamental components: the idealization of slenderness, an irrational fear of fat, and a belief that weight is a central determinant of one’s identity” (Lintott 67). Our society promotes a specific body image as being attractive: being thin. It is represented throughout mass media, both in the physical and online worlds. The media exposes individuals, especially women, to impractical body types. Today, negative body image encourages women to engage in disordered eating behaviors to fit an impractical standard of beauty. In fact, according to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), 20 million females will “suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life” (Lintott 68). We contribute so much time striving to look like what society wants us to resemble. Some individuals believe that this thin ideal is the norm and that the media is not causing any harm. But, this thin ideal is detrimental. It is the main reason for the increase in the development and encouragement in eating disorders, body dissatisfaction in women and a rise in the number of pro-anorexia websites.
Body image has become a huge issue in society today, with magazines such as Shape, Covergirl, Vogue, Seventeen, or celebrities such as Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, or Kylie Jenner. Women, especially teenagers, find themselves thinking that they have to look like the model they saw in a magazine, or on social media. The media is greatly responsible for the growing of the “ideal” thin women. Statistics show that diet and weight control advertisement appear ten times more in women’s magazines than men. Showing thin models next to them which leads girls to eating disorders, harming their bodies so they have an “ideal” image of what they think they should look like.
The influence of the media on all aspect of society has spread like wildfire especially in the United States. One specific influence by the media is body image, large number of young women and girls look up to people in the media and are influenced by the way they look. Now days you’re appraised on your attractiveness, the way you look, the way you dress, and especially how thin you are. The media’s representation of body image has contributed to the social trend of an unhealthy lifestyle. Women and young girls today are fixated on trying modify the way they look to achieve the perfect body image set by the standards of society. Female’s worry about the way they look starting at young ages from the unhealthy image of the Barbie doll to the
It is apparent that with the increasing popularity of social media today, there has been a shift in dietary changes within our society. Individuals are subconsciously changing how and what they eat. The question arises, why are so many young women dissatisfied with their bodies, despite their size? Although there are several forces believed to play a role in this dissatisfaction such as peer criticism and parental influences, the thin-ideal body is dominating the media (Grabe, Ward, & Hyde, 2008). Thinness is largely emphasized and praised for women in magazines, television shows, movies and commercials (Stice & Shaw, 1992). Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that stems from this ubiquitous obsession to be thin and is often associated with a pathological fear of gaining weight, distorted self-body image and emaciation (The American Heritage® Science Dictionary).
Eating disorders have become a major problem throughout the world, specifically in the United States. The key factor that has an influence on eating disorders is the media. Including people of all ages and genders, up to twenty-four million people suffer from an eating disorder in the United States (ANAD np). This is a huge problem in the world today but what makes it so much worse is the fact that it can be prevented and it is in our control to change it. Young adults look to these celebrities, which are often their role models, and try to look just like them. What they fail to remember is the fact that celebrities have a lot of money, money that can afford nutritionists and personal trainers. They also fail to remember the extensive measures the celebrities may have to go through to look the way they do. An example of extensive measures can be considered plastic surgery. Ultimately, this creates a false goal that is almost unattainable for the “average” or “regular” person. Overall, the media has overtaken a huge impact on what the “ideal” body image has become today. Eating disorders are still on the rise and it is proven that an eating disorder such as anorexia affects up to 5 percent of women from ages 15-30 years old ("Media, Body Image, and Eating Disorders | National Eating Disorders Association np"). This may not seem that significant but it is also not considering other eating disorders such as bulimia. All in all, eating disorders
Demi Lovato once said, “I’m not going to sacrifice my mental health to have the perfect body.” However, today we find that many individuals are doing the completely opposite. In Susan Bordo’s, “Globalization of Eating Disorders” essay, they fall into the media trap, the self-image trap, where they are concerned of what people may think about them. Americans nowadays have pageants, modeling, and media to thank for this absurd notion. Fit women, along with strong men give this motivation to others to want to be like them. Most people should be comfortable with their own bodies. Americans are mesmerized with media and enthralled by one’s body image, and ,as a result, face ramifications like eating disorders and anorexia.
Looking good and being in shape is a top priority of today’s adults. According to the American Society of Plastic surgery (ASPA) 14.6 million cosmetic surgery procedures were performed in the United States in 2012. This is a 5 percent increase since 2011. The constant media advertisement of weight loss, sex appeal, and cosmetically enhanced beauty often leads to unrealistic standards of beauty and dissatisfaction in personal appearance. This overexposure to Hollywood beauty causes women to wonder how come they don’t look like that and often leaves them questioning what they can do to have a picture perfect body and face. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), the promotion of unhealthy standards of beauty by the media often leads to depression and dissatisfaction in personal appearance (Chittom 3). Media have a negative impact on women’s body image and how women respond to the media’s portrayal of what is beautiful by advertisements emphasizing the importance of physical attractiveness, using Photoshop and airbrushing techniques to alter images people see in advertisements, and disregarding healthy living.
Poet Allen Ginsberg once said that “whoever controls the media-the images-controls the culture”, and nothing could be truer than this. Media plays a larger role in society within this generation more than many of us are aware of. It can easily impact people’s lives through aspects such as sports, fashion, movies or hobbies, but unfortunately, one of these impacts is how we view our body. Media constantly posts images and messages promoting a nearly unachievable and unrealistic image of what beauty looks like and it almost always has negative fallout when we struggle to meet this. This is known as an eating disorder. An eating disorder is a psychological sickness that results in dangerous eating habits and both short and long term affects on the body. People with eating disorders generally have a negative perception of their self will try to control their weight through unnecessary dieting, exercising or purging. But how does this illness begin? Social media sites, advertising, celebrities and other forms of media through society are all social pressures that are influencing people to be “perfect” and causing this expanding matter.
In the united states women expectation of beauty has change over time. Everywhere you turn their women being adversity as Victoria secret model or Barbie. Girls would want to look like this causing them to feel a shamed of their body and have eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. Women are expected to be a Victoria secret model. Which some or most women can’t accomplish. Most girl want “that” perfect body type – slim, but not skinny; soft, but not fat. However, these goal lead to unhealthy body alteration.
The media constantly sends out an influx of images and messages promoting an almost unattainable unrealistic image of beauty, that has consistently been linked to disordered eating and body dissatisfaction, predominantly among girls but can also be seen in boys. Throughout the years the ideal body shape has progressed from voluptuous and curvaceous an image Marilyn Monroe emulated to a slimmer and leaner frame in congruence with high fashion models such as Kate Moss (Katzmarzk & Davis, 2001). Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia nervosa affect between 1% and 4% of young adult females (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Eating disorders have been linked to body shapes and images present in the media (Shorter, Brown, Quinton & Hinton, 2008).
The pressure on girls to have ‘perfect’ bodies has grown increasingly over time. Media exposure such as social media, billboards, magazines, television, all represent images of tall, skinny models that resemble perfection. And what exactly is perfection? “A quality, trait, or feature of the highest degree of excellence.” This is what many young women and teenagers aspire to be. What most people still don’t realize is that the majority of the pictures that they see in magazines are altered in some way. It is a setup for self-hatred. They believe that the pictures are reflective of the real world. NCBI conducted a study of the relationship between media and eating disorders among undergraduate college students found that media exposure predicted
We all want to have a skinny, toned, tanned, perfect body. A ‘perfect body’ being created by the media and fashion industry. Frederique van der Wa, a former Victoria's Secret model, even says that the runway models today have an “unnatural thinness” and that it is not a good message to sent to “young, impressionable women.” Each year a new image of a perfect body is released and the models keep getting skinnier. This makes young women develop eating disorders. Seeing the unnaturally skinny models gives them the idea that ‘this is what we are supposed to look like.’ The media and fashion industry does contribute to eating disorders in youth and the thought of a perfect body image.
According to the National Eating Disorder Association the media has a major influence on what a woman’s body should look like. Every print and television advertisement suggests that the ideal body is extremely thin. However, most women cannot achieve having a super-thin body that the media favors. The resulting failure leads to negative feelings about one’s self and can begin a downward spiral toward an eating disorder (National Eating Disorders Association).