The media’s false portrayal of body image has a great influence on the development of eating disorders. There are three types of eating disorders; anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating. Eating disorders are major issues in today’s society. Instead of people using the media to influence good eating habits, they use it to influence bad eating habits. The numbers of people who have an eating disorder are rising at an alarming rate. It affects not only women, but also men, teens, and young children of all ages. It is not surprising that the number of young children who have an eating disorder is increasing each year. This is an issue that people do not take seriously. The media gets the attention to continue to
Once upon a time, you probably liked your body and appreciated the many things it could do, but the route to adulthood, doubts and insecurities may have crept in. The images the media exposures the society to are of thin and beautiful women and extremely muscular men. There are negative affects to what the media is showing the body image and mood states of young women and men. The mass media is designed to reach large audiences through the use of technology. From the moment nations wakes up until they fall asleep they are confronted with media. Every home in America has at least one or more of these things a TV, the internet, and cell phones. When driving down the highway it is almost impossible not to see some type of advertisement. What the media portrays of body image affects teens negatively through using stereotypes, and promoting unnecessary products. The media uses stereotypes to portray what a "normal" body should look like. Women are often shown unrealistically thin and men with abnormally great muscle tone. These advertisements are damaging the youths mental health but also the physical state. When the youth gets too damaged it could lead to eating disorders and other not so healthy things. Never fear though if they develop a eating disorder there are many places to seek help. Thesis: Although accepting more normal body types has become a recent trend, the mass media should not have such a big effect on the society’s body image.
There were three questions that arose in a study by Spurr and Berry and they were ‘‘what are adolescent understandings of psychological wellness, are there positive or negative influences on an adolescent’s sense of psychological wellness, and does the psychological dimension influence adolescent wellness?’’ (Spurr & Berry, 2013, p. 18-19). The study targeted ages 16-19, this raised a reoccurring concern of the participants, the effect of media on their views of physical appearance. These adolescents are comparing themselves to the models and celebrities and it’s causing them to feel bad about themselves. Other adolescents expressed their views of how the media affected their thoughts. One stated ‘‘you think about it more. Like, once you see someone like that, you think about what you’re eating, and why you don’t look like that.’’ (Spurr & Berry, 2013, p. 26). Other participants made references that girls are hurting their bodies trying to lose weight to look like the women in the media. Male adolescents are also feeling the same way. When they see a toned male, they want to be like that so they start working out or popping drugs to make themselves bigger. Men and women struggle with the same ideology that the perfect body is skinny and muscular but this has negative repercussions, this body dissatisfaction leads to harmful weight control
“Thin is beautiful” “Get thin fast” “Thin is ideal” “Need to get skinny for the summer” These would be some of many negative messages that are being instilled into young minds from the media. The mass media has a great influence on an individual’s body image. The media distorts reality, promotes weight-teasing, and with the lack of diversity, it leads to body dissatisfaction, that would be a person’s negative thoughts about their body, and can inevitably lead to eating disorders. Also, media distorting reality can lead to mental illness and a low self esteem. The body image of many people does not reflect who they are but it rather reflects what the media portrays.
Abstract: Research has shown that exposure to thin-ideal media is related to body dissatisfaction. Consequently, the accumulated dissatisfying emotions regarding one’s body can evolve into distorted body perception. Such disturbed body image has been evident as associated with low self-esteem. Nonetheless, little research has sought to elucidate the rationales for these perplexed psychological relationships. With a few previous research touched on the self-discrepancy theory vis-à-vis understanding body image dysfunctions, thus it is proposed that thin-ideal media exposure facilitates the reconstruction of media audience’s self-ideal body image; it hence activates the body image self-assessment and results in self-discrepancies and are prone to lower self-esteem. This study is in correlational design conducted in college classrooms. It contains two phases with thin-ideal media exposure in between. Different empirically well-validated scales and questionnaires will be administrated in these phases so as to assess students’ current self-esteem and the attitudinal body-image.
In modern society we are faced with a narrow idea of what is perceived as beautiful. The media influences us everyday. Women and men are constantly trying to modify their body into what society has deemed “acceptable”, and it has caused major consequences, including the rise of eating disorders. Women feel the need to be a size zero and men feel the need to be muscular. This is due, not only because of social factors, but also a person’s genes, biology and psychological reasons.
Another study looked at the effects of media images on television and the effects it has on female’s perception of their body image. In this study, the participants were asked how many hours of television they watched a day, then how many of these programmes were ones with characters in that have ‘perfect’ physiques, such as 90210 etc. then the bmi of each participant was taken and was compared with how much television they watched and how much of this television contained media of body images. The results in this study suggested that the media did have an impact on body dissatisfaction. Adolescent girls based their ideal body images on characters on the television that have the ‘perfect skinny’ body image. When the participants questioned their body image after the exposure, it made them feel worse about themselves and strive to have the ‘perfect’ body image. 
Paxton, Helene Keery, Melanie Wall, Jia Guo, and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer devised a study to test whether media exposure has an effect on the self esteem and body satisfaction of men and women around the ages of 17 - 21. They gathered 4,746 male and female students. One third of them were seventh graders, the other two thirds were in tenth grade. These students took a brief survey called phase one or EAT-I (Eating Among Teens). Five years later these students were contacted to participate in phase two or EAT-II. In the end 2,516 people completed the surveys. This survey measured body dissatisfaction using a modified version of the Body Shape Satisfaction Scale, frequency of media comparison was assessed using the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire-III, a four item scale was used to assess parent dieting environment, and self-esteem was assessed using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory. They found that there was a connection between media body comparison with body dissatisfaction in females. For males, media body comparison was connected with depressive mood and weight teasing (Berg, P. V., Paxton, S. J., Keery, H., Wall, M., Guo, J., & Neumark-Sztainer, D., 2007)There was no ethnocentrism or bias in the work, and conclusions were drawn from the results of their
Our society contributes to the development of eating disorders in women and men by promoting the idea that being thin is more desirable. Kate Moss, a famous model in the eighties once said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Shared attitudes and beliefs such as these help contribute to our society’s fixation on being thin. In the past thirty years society’s expectations of what women and men’s body should look like have only gotten stricter (Helgeson, 2016, p. 530). Unrealistic expectations that society puts forth on women and men can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. The desire and the need to be thin can cause serious eating disorders such as Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder and more life-threatening Anorexia
Throughout the twenty-first century there has been a social demand to be thin. Many famous men and women in the acting and modeling industry are expected to be skinny and are photoshopped in their pictures to make them look smaller than they are, which the everyday people see. “When you consider the average weight of a supermodel, the $70 billion dieting industry, or the 6 million to 11 million people who struggle with eating disorders, you come to one conclusion: America is virtually obsessed with thinness” (Wolchover). Our world is determined to be skinny and people become so obsessed, that they will start to see themselves as larger than they truly are and will take serious measures to accomplish their dream of being thin. This “thin fantasy” develops into eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Although anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are both eating disorders where the person has a misperception of his or her own body and relies on starving/fasting, purging, and excessive exercise to lose weight, these conditions do vary in the way they are defined, diagnosed, and the effects they have on the body.
In the present day, this concept of an ideal woman has slowly gravitated back towards the nineteenth century stereotype of having a frail, rail-thin body shape; however, social status is no longer the leading factor behind the movement. With the newly established capabilities of television access, commercial advertisements, and mass distribution, the rate of eating disorders skyrocketed. According to the American Obesity Association, 65% of adults and 30% of children are overweight. 30% of the adults and 15% of the children in the same category are considered to be clinically obese. Concurrently, the rate of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, continue to rise at a phenomenally simultaneous rate (257). These disorders can be viewed as a direct result of media consumption.
The term “body dissatisfaction” is defined as a negative subjective perception of one’s own self-image. According to psychologists Grabe, Hyde, and Ward approximately 50% of women who do or do not suffer from an eating disorder have feelings of body dissatisfaction (2008). People who have unrealistic expectations of their own body image are also at a greater risk of being discontent with their body because of the sustained depiction of the “thin ideal” by the media. Body dissatisfaction is also directly correlated with “critical physical and heath problems” because of the negative affect eating disorders have on people (Grabe; Hyde; Ward, 2008).
Body image is defined as “perceptions of and attitudes toward one’s own physical appearance” (What is Body Image?). Put simply, the beauty ideal in American culture is: thin. While there are some exceptions, most fashion models must meet specific height and weight requirements. These requirements are strict and generally fall under 5’8 to 6’0, and 90-120lb. ("Question: What Are the Requirements for Being a Model?). These requirements correlate with the media-portrayed thin ideal. These cultural standards are established in the media. Women and young girls are constantly surrounded by all sorts of media and construct their identities in part through media images they see. The more girls are exposed to thin-ideal kinds of media, the more they are dissatisfied with their bodies and with themselves overall. Arielle Culter said, “Large populations of ‘average’ girls do not demonstrate clinically diagnosable eating disorders—pathologies that the culture marks as extreme and unhealthy—but rather an entirely normative obsession with body shape and size,” Cutler said. “This ongoing concern is accepted as a completely normal and even inevitable part of being a modern girl.” This thin ideal body type is also related to eating pathology, and women may directly model unhealthy eating habits, such as fasting or purging, to try and obtain a body type that only two percent of the population has. This has a negative repercussion on young girls as well because this affects the creation of a positive stable body and self image. With technology allowing 24-hour media access, teenagers especially are easily exposed to heavy media content. Young girls also tend to spend more time on social networking sites that boys. The Eating Attitudes Test was given to female adolescents between 16 and 18 years of age to evaluate body shape and weight concerns among normal adolescents in relation to
They use cross-sectional studies, experimental studies, and longitudinal studies to strengthen their credibility amongst the audience. Each study fulfills a different purpose to cross-reference the correlations between television, images of thin beauty ideals, and “casual risk factors” to body dissatisfaction amongst adolescents (390-401). This allows the research to focus on different components of the media – television, magazines, billboards, radio etc. It is apparent that the authors and sponsors believe the mass media to be the primary factor of recent increases involving a female’s concern on her body and eating disorders. For example, the article describes how the fashion industry uses digital enhancement to obtain thinner sizes on their models. Thus, the norms of beauty become nearly impossible to achieve. The sponsors of the article created a review that considered both the nature and implications of media effects. More importantly, the article serves as a guide in minimizing the negative affects the media places on adolescent females.
As society begins to grow a dependency on media, particularly social media, more and more research is being conducted on the effects of this kind of exposure on self-esteem, body image, and more importantly eating disorders. As society becomes codependent on the technology that has made life that easier, exposure to marketing techniques and other social cues has increased and with that increase so has the negative perception of body image increased. It is because of this growing tendency of humans to develop subconscious ideas of the perfect body that this paper looks to answer the question of whether American media is portraying these unhealthy images of a perfect body or perfect human to society. This causes several negative tendencies from low self-esteem to an array of mental eating disorders due to the dissatisfaction with one’s own body. It is the opinion of this paper that American media is in fact imprinting these ideas of a perfect and unhealthy image of the human body onto the general public, whether it be knowingly or unknowingly.