The Effects Of Social Media On Young Girls And Women Alike

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Social media plays an immense role in the way that stereotypes about attractiveness is conveyed in regards to body image. As Gerbner and Gross wrote in 1976, the cultivation theory states that high frequency viewers of television are more susceptible to media messages and the belief that they are real and valid. The subjection to social media can cause an idealistic view amongst young girls and women alike. Among the mechanisms of human agency none is more central or pervasive than beliefs of personal efficacy (Bandura, 1997). This belief that these body types are achievable can lead to females being dissatisfied within their own skin. The result of the discontent can potentially lead to eating disorders. Body dissatisfaction occurs when views of the body are negative and involves a perceived discrepancy between a person 's assessment of their actual and ideal body (Cash and Szymanski, 1995 and Grogan, 2008). It is estimated that approximately 50% of adolescent girls report being unhappy with their bodies (Bearman, Presnell, & Martinez, 2006). Surveys have revealed that the exposure to social media can cause body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms’ and the concept that thin is “beautiful” amongst young girls and women (Botta 1999; Harrison and Hefner 2006; and Stice et al. 1994). With media influence, the question is the strength of the effect, studies indicate the effects are small in scale; they are likely to operate in accordance with particular differences in
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