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Media, Body Image, and Eating Disorders Essay

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These days it is almost impossible to walk through a store without seeing a magazine that features a young, slim model on the cover. Flipping through the pages, there are more pictures of young, beautiful women, all skinny. Each and every single picture is airbrushed to perfection. It is hard not to take a good look at the model and begin to think, “Why can’t I be as pretty as her?” Many females, from as young as elementary school, struggle with their body image and their self-esteem. In fact, in a study consisting of fifth graders, ten year old girls and boys told researchers they were dissatisfied with their own bodies after watching a music video by Britney Spears or a clip from the TV show "Friends" (University of Washington). As a result, they look up to these models, since they seem like the epitome of perfection. However, looking up to these models is neither practical nor healthy.
Purposely or not, the portrayal of female models and unrealistic weight expectations in the media are, in part, responsible for several health and psychological issues in today’s society. The media can be magazines, television, or the internet, and all are easily accessible in the United States. Magazines in particular boasts diet tips, exercise information, and unrealistic expectations of the ideal body size and shape. They send a message to the reader: that in order to be attractive, you must also be skinny. The portrayal of the perfect body image is inescapable in today’s society. As standards are becoming smaller and smaller, the effect it has on women show a similar trend.
Magazines such as Glamour and Vogue feature many pictures of thin models. In several cases, these magazines also feature articles, which interview a well know...


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...6 Jun.
2006. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
Lockwood, Penelope, Christian H. Jordan, and Ziva Kunda. "Motivation by positive or negative role
models: regulatory focus determines who will best inspire us." Journal of personality and social
psychology 83.4 (2002): 855.
National Institute of Mental Health. "Eating Disorders." NIMH RSS. National Institute of Mental Health,
2011. Web. 13 Jan. 2014.
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Rian. "Star Magazine: Jessica Simpson's Diet Disaster." Web log post. The Skinny Website. N.p., 27
Aug. 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.
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University of Washington. "Teen Health and the Media." Teen Health and the Media. University of
Washington, n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2014.
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