Chronic dieting, low self-esteem, depression and, high levels of body dissatisfaction were among the major issues women face when addressing their body image (Gingras, Fitzpatrick, & McCargar, 2004). The severity of body image dissatisfaction have increased to such a dangerous state that it was added to the DSM-IV as a disorder now called body dysmorphic disorder (Suissa, 2008). One of the main reasons for the prevalence of these conditions in women was due to contemporary Western media, which serve as one of the major agent in enforcing an ultra-thin figure as the ideal for female beauty (Saraceni & Russell-Mayhew, 2007). These images and models presented by the media have become the epitome of beauty, pushing women who internalized these images to dangerous extent to attain these norms. According to evidence from previous studies, contemporary Western cultures have influenced women to an acquired normative state of discontent with their bodies, which have become the source of maladaptive eating practices, negative psychological outcomes, and, chronic health conditions associated with eating disorders (Snapp, Hensley-Choate, & Ryu, 2012). The seriousness of these body image conditions among youths and women have also led to congressional actions.
The research question of this Psychology Extended Essay is “What is the Extent of the Media’s Influence Regarding Eating Disorders?” To further investigate this question, I researched what the media is and what it does, how people are affected by the media and many different studies and experiments. Through the use of several sources, mostly online and experiments, I was able to learn exactly what the media does to possibly be considered an influence on the development of eating disorders. I was able to find a multitude of experiments and studies deciding whether or not women are actually influenced by what the media has to say about body image. While typing this paper, I realized that, of course, the media was not the only
A growing body of research suggests that media portrayal of the thin-ideal has negative effects on body satisfaction, but has this knowledge translated into practical solutions? In this analysis, I will review the literature describing the correlation between media’s portrayal of thin-ideal and body dissatisfaction. Subsequently, I review recent empirical studies about the trends in media and body dissatisfaction. Finally, researchers’ recent implications of disparity in gender body dissatisfaction reporting will be summarized
Body image encompasses how we perceive our bodies, how we feel about our physical experience as well as how we think and talk about our bodies, our sense of how other people view our bodies, our sense of our bodies in physical space, and our level of connectedness to our bodies. Over the past three decades, while America has gotten heavier, the "ideal woman" presented in the media has become thinner. Teenagers are the heaviest users of mass media, and American women are taught at a young age to take desperate measures in the form of extreme dieting to control their
It is nearly impossible to open a newspaper or magazine, listen to the radio, shop at a mall or turn on the TV without being confronted with the message that to be fat is to be undesirable (Media Influence 1). A study showed that women experience an average of 13 negative thoughts about their body each day, while ninety-seven percent of women admit to having at least one “I hate my body” moment each day (Media Influence 1). The media portrays “perfect-people” as skinny, desirable people you see in magazines and on television. “Although thin models are not the cause of eating disorders, they can be a trigger or factor in maintain an eating disorder (Pearson, Catherine 1). In other words, if a woman has a predisposition for an eating
How does the media alter the perceptions of adolescents' body image? & How does this exposure to the "ideal body" lead adolescents to develop eating disorders?
A very prominent and controversial issue related to media-idealized images is that of eating disorders and eating problems. Eating problems include binge eating, purging, and unhealthy eating problems. These disorders are seen in young adolescents who are at a very fragile stage of life. Teenagers experience bodily changes as well as peer pressure and new experiences of going into high school. According to Dakanalis et al. the media portrays individuals with an extremely thin build for females and a slim-muscular build (i.e., muscles along with minimal body fat) for males is considered to be the cause of body displeasure and eating pathology. There is no solid evidence to prove that the media is to blame for the degree of eating disorder symptoms and negative body-image feelings that many feel, hence the reason it continues to be a highly debated topic. There has although, been continuous research and theories comprised over objectification. This occurs when men and women are sexually objectified. A person is treated as a body, where beauty and attractiveness of a person are important and valued. This theory can be found nearly anywhere because of the amount and variety of social interaction. It is common because of the way media represents body images. The media has ideals of men and women’s body images and individuals are compared to how well
The media group that retouches images skews the “normal” body image of people through many of its outlets, including models in advertising and magazines, and actors in TV and movie productions. “The average model portrayed in the media is approximately 5’11” and 120 pounds. By contrast, the average American woman is 5’4” and 140 pounds” (Holmstrom, 2004). This statistic shows how the media manipulates consumers into believing that because they are not what the average model looks like, they are not living up to a certain standard which implies that they need to look like that to be beautiful. Another research fact that shows a similar concept is that, “In the United States, 94% of female characters in television programs are thinner than the average American woman, with whom the media frequently associate happiness, desirability, and success in life” (Yamamiya et al., 2005). This association of female thinness and happiness, desirability and success makes consumers believe they must achieve this unrealistic thinness to achieve more ultimate goals and fulfillment in life. “The media also explicitly instruct how to attain thin bodies by dieting, exercising, and body-contouring surgery, encouraging female consumers to believe that they can and should be thin” (Yamamiya et al., 2005). This idealization of thinness in the media is seen so much, and is extremely harmful to women’s self confidence and is often associated with body image dissatisfaction, which can be a precursor to social anxiety, depression, eating disturbances, and poor self-esteem (Yamamiya et al.,
The article Must See TV or ESPN: Entertainment and Sports Media Exposure and Body-Image Distortion in College Women by Kimberly L. Bissell and Peiqin Zhou examines how media promotes an idealization of thinness in college-age women. The study by Bissell and Zhou takes place at a southern college university in the United States, and compares and contrasts the entertainment industry and sports media on disordered eating and body dissatisfaction in college-age women. The article explains that there have been inconclusive and contradictory studies in the past examining the impact the entertainment industry has on the thin-ideal for women, as well as the correlation between sports media and women’s body image.
To conclude, I believe that the media does play a role in the cause of eating disorders in women however other factors such as peers and the family have an impact on the issue too and can help cause it. Yet the media, a form of secondary socialization, didn’t portray women as being skinny females may not feel threatened by it and wouldn’t want to become the females portrayed by the
Media is a significant force in modern culture, particularly in America. Sociologist refer to this as a mediated culture where media reflects and created culture. Communities and individuals are bombarded constantly with messages from a multitude of sources. These messages promote not only products, but moods, attitudes, and a sense of what is and is not important. The messages that the media portray are conflicting and it is impossibly hard to achieve both messages since one is orientated toward fast food consumption and the other it orientated toward an extremely thin ideal. Many researchers have hypothesized that the media may play a central role in creating and intensifying the phenomenon of body dissatisfaction and consequently,
Cultural influences are cited as a significant factor associated with eating disorders in women due to the belief that “they must be as thin as the actresses and fashion models that dominate the media”, and “young women are dissatisfied with their weight because of the societal ideals promoted by the media are unattainable for most of them” (Weiten p473). However, according to a recent meta-analysis over 204 studies a conflicting viewpoint was raised which indicated that, “effects of thin ideal media appear to be limited to a subgroup of women with preexisting body dissatisfaction susceptibility” (Ferguson 2013).
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
The female body image is highly influenced by the mass media and the media’s portrayal of women, ‘70% of college women say they feel worse about their own looks after reading women’s magazines’ (University of Massachusetts & Stanford University, 2006), the portrayal of women in the media has an unrealistic approach and brings out body dissatisfactions and this results in eating problems and disorders.