Mass Media platforms can be defined as social media, magazines, newspaper, television, movies, advertisements and Internet (including social media) (Vonderen & Kinnally). Body image is a complicated aspect of self-concept that concerns an individual’s attitudes, perception, satisfaction, behaviours and feelings about their body and physical appearance. Females of all ages seem to be particularly vulnerable to disturbance in this area. It affects almost all women at some level and women of all ages and sizes display body image disturbance (Sedar).
It is important to investigate this topic because the importance of physical appearance is emphasized and reinforced early in most girls' development; studies have found that nearly half of females’ ages 6-8 have stated that they want to be slimmer (Sedar). Media today projects an unrealistic and even dangerous standard of feminine beauty that can have a powerful influence on the way women view themselves. Is it true that the mass media only contribute to negative perceptions of the body image? What are the reasons why some females are affected/ not affected by images of the media? With the aid of relevant sources, we aim to answer these questions in our literature review.
Mass Media’s Contribution to Negative Perceptions of Body Image By Females
The media broadcasts the “thin ideal” in many ways. Not only are the models on the covers of magazines and in advertisements embodying the “thin ideal”, but also the fictional characters in television shows and movies are almost always portrayed as thin and beautiful. In the movie ‘Shrek’, the princess turned into an overweight, masculine ogre and was considered an “ugly princess” but when the spell was broken, the prince...
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...ultra-thin media images of women have been well documented; research has shown that females who are repeatedly exposed to and internalise the thin ideal are at greater risk to develop body image disturbance and eating pathology. Although it is clear that the media influences the way females view themselves, it is unclear how this process takes place. The social comparison theory, cultivation theory, and self-schema theory can be used to examine how media images of women affects the way females feel about their bodies and physical appearance (Serdar).
However, we can also boost body image when we refuse the media as all media messages are constructed and are not reflections of reality. It is up to us to choose whether or not we want to believe that message. We can also talk back when we see or hear a message that makes us feel bad about ourselves (“Body Image”).