Media Affects on the Self- image of Women

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Media Affects on the Self- image of Women

When you first glance at this article, you might say to yourself “I know what women in the media is about, it's stereotypes and sexism.” What you probably don’t know is that however subtle, these visual cues are affecting women individually and collectively, in how they view themselves and other women. Relationships are a fundamental aspect of women’s behaviorism and advertising exploits this. It turns people into objects and offers products as a replacement for human contact, producing serious affects on the self- image of women and adolescent girls.

Young women aged 15 to 30 are a prime industry target since 80 per cent of all consumer products are purchased by women in this age group. Advertisers spend large amounts of money on psychological research and focus groups, and what have they learned? That women are vulnerable to the promise of a relationship with a product and these advertisers make use of this on the basis that purchasing and use of certain products will resolve women’s social, emotional, and financial difficulties. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘You can never be too rich or too thin.’

The most widely read magazine among teenage girls, Seventeen, states that it ‘encourages independence’ and is a girl’s ‘Bible,’ but more than half of the magazine is fashion, beauty, and boys. It teaches adolescents that the most important thing on their minds should be appearance and attracting men. Through advertising, these young women are encouraged to portray themselves as sweet and passive, but sexy and attractive. They are taught to be quiet and kind, but to compete with other girls for attention from boys. They hav...

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... supposed to be competing with other girls for attention from boys. Of course we don’t take all ads literally, but we have to remember that they add up and we are exposed to up to 1500 ads daily. The cultural messages that we are receiving from these ads do affect young women immensely. To be aware of this issue is important to everyone. As author and lecturer Jean Kilbourne says “These days, self-improvement seems to have more to do with calories than with character, with abdomens than with absolutes, with nail polish than with ethics.”


Calvine, Howard. (1999). Depicting Women as sex objects in television advertising:

Effects on body dissatisfaction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Vol. 25, pages 1049-1059.

Kilbourne, Jean. (2000). Hidden Persuaders. Adweek. Vol. 41, pages 44-60.
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