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Essay on Trends in Media and Body Dissatisfaction

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A growing body of research suggests that media portrayal of the thin-ideal has negative effects on body satisfaction, but has this knowledge translated into practical solutions? First, this analysis will review literature describing the correlation between the media’s portrayal of thin-ideal and body dissatisfaction. Subsequently, a review of recent empirical studies about trends in media and body dissatisfaction will be presented. Finally, researchers’ recent implications of disparity in gender body dissatisfaction reporting will be summarized.
Many scholars find it problematic when the assumption is made that body image has worsened (and continues to worsen) for both genders over time. To have a clear understanding of the correlation between body image and psychosocial functioning, it is significant to investigate whether the trend in body image has changed over recent decades. It should also be noted that problems involving body image are associated with severe disturbances, such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
The exposure to mass media’s depiction of the thin-ideal body may be linked to body image disturbance in women. Researchers Grabe, Hyde, and Ward (2008) conducted a meta-analysis which examined experimental and correlational studies focusing on media exposure’s relationship with women’s body dissatisfaction, eating behavior, and internalization of the thin ideal. Their findings from these analyses suggest that media exposure is strongly correlated with women’s body dissatisfaction. They assert that exposure to media impacts women’s body image negatively regardless of other variables (e.g. assessment technique, individual variability, age, etc.)

Trends in Media and Body Dissatisfactio...


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...ve consistently found a strong correlation between exposure to the media’s portrayal of the thin-ideal body and increased body dissatisfaction. Results of several studies indicate that women’s body satisfaction has increased over time, on average. It has been hypothesized that this trend may be due to a larger public awareness of exaggerated portrayal of the thin-ideal by the media. Because the average female’s body-mass index has also increased over time, it has additionally been suggested that there may g acceptance of larger weight, less exaggerated body ideals, termed “real bodies.” While female body satisfaction has increased on average over time, male body satisfaction has remained largely the same. Researchers have suggested that body-satisfaction differences between males and females may be originate from differences in body comparison.




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