Media And Women 's Self Image Essay

1851 Words8 Pages
MEDIA AND WOMEN’S SELF-IMAGE This paper will discuss the view that the media generally has a negative impact on the self-image of women. The evidence to support this view has been provided by the arguments of women writers and the findings of empirical studies over the years. Media representations present an ideal for female appearance and behavior. Women, especially those who are young and impressionable, accept this seemingly authoritative ideal and develop a negative self-image when their own bodies fail to match it. The problem is that the media ideal is unrealistic. Women of color are given the message that they are not light-skinned enough and women of all types are given the message that they are not thin enough. This paper will describe the problem and will argue that the best way to overcome it is to increase women’s awareness that they are being manipulated by the media for the sake of increased profits. Concerns with the influence of the media on self-image among women can be seen as early as the late eighteenth century, in the work of Mary Wollstonecraft. Specifically, in chapter five of A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Wollstonecraft criticized writers of the time who were guilty of treating women as “objects of pity, bordering on contempt.” For example, Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that the natural role of women was to be “weak and passive” and subject to men (Wollstonecraft 99). Regarding the impact of this way of thinking on the self-image of
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