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The Media and Body Image Essay

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Mass media is designed to reach large audiences with technology. Its purpose is meant to give us entertainment and information we need to act as a society. Media is everywhere; there is no escaping from it. Almost every home in America has at least one TV, the internet, and a cell phone. You cannot drive down the street without seeing billboard signs. Checking out at the grocery store can be tricky if trying to avoid magazines. There are more forms of media available today then ever before; consequently, teens are exposed to a lot of information. The media is supposed to portray what is normal; therefore, it affects what society considers normal. Teens are much more impressionable then adults. What the media tells them is normal affects them more. The media’s portrayal of body image affects teens negatively through using stereotypes, encouraging sexual behavior, 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 muscles larger than life. The idea that these unrealistic bodies are normal and healthy can be quite damaging to a teens self body image. In 2003, Teen Magazine reported that 35 percent of girls 6 to 12 years old have been on at least one diet, and 50 to 70 percent of normal weight girls believe that they are overweight. Boys also feel pressure into weight training and using steroids to achieve that perfect body. Weight is not the only stereotype the media uses. Teen dramas use the stereotype that the popular kids are beautiful, smart, and have no physical flaws.
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The popular kids also have money, dress in name brand clothes, drive fancy cars, and only date equally perf...


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...ities, educations, and social lives. Teens need to know that we care about them and what they do. Parents also need to establish a good line of communication between themselves and their teens. Teens need to know that they can talk to the parents about anything. This includes talking about the realistic or unrealistic body image and sex. If we do not the media certainly will. Parents should also monitor their teen’s media use and exposure. If parents are aware of what their teens are exposed to, they can better communicate what is appropriate; meanwhile directly counteracting the media’s negative portrayal of body image.


Works Cited
Bourland, Korrie. “Female Body Images in the Media.” http://www6.svsu.edu/~glt/Magazine/Bourland.html 08 Dec. 2004. Web. 23 Feb. 2010
“Common Sense Media”. http://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/physical-health Web. 23 Feb. 2010


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