Understanding the Causes of Negative Body Image Essay

518 Words 3 Pages
Understanding the Causes of Negative Body Image


I chose to read the book titled “Understanding the Causes of Negative Body Image” by Barbara Moe because I plan on focusing my research paper on how the media has strong control over women’s development of self-esteem and body image. The message that the media is sending creates the context within which people learn to value size and shape of their body.
Moe’s book focuses on how our culture is preoccupied with weight and appearance. She begins her book with the history of body image and how at different periods over centuries, fat and thin body types have both been considered “fashionable”. From the late Middle Ages until the 1800s, the rounded figure of a women’s body
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Seeing overly skinny models in the media does not enhance women’s self-esteem, self-worth, or self-image. The degree of thinness exhibited by models is both unachievable and biologically inappropriate and provides unhelpful role model for women.
I liked the chapter of Moe’s book where she discussed the history of women’s body image. She included a section on the Miss America Contests. I thought it was very interesting to read that the average bust-weight-hip measurements for women were (in inches) 32-25-35 when the contests began in 1921. Flat chests were in and some women even bound their breasts to flatten them. It is amazing how over time women’s body image has changed. Miss America’s weight has significantly decreased over the years and the average bust-weight-hip measurements have decreased about 2 inches. Today, bigger breasts and skinnier bodies seem to be fashionable.
In conclusion, there is a great need for more diverse and realistic body shapes to be shown throughout the media, especially on television and in magazines. The pressures many people feel to make their bodies conform to one ideal would be reduced, lessening the feelings of body dissatisfaction. Because the media and public idolize and emulate ultra-thin actresses and models, as a result, are many women in America led to self-destruction and suffer from psychological illnesses such as anorexia? Has the rate of anorexia…

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