Media and Body Image

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Mass media refers to the multiple platforms of communication that transmit information to a large number of people (Sociology Central, 1). Conventionally, mass media is a one-way communication that decimates only information, also known as traditional media – television, radio broadcast and print are such examples. With the advancement in technology and the Internet revolution it slowly evolved into another form – the new media, or social media. Now, it works on a two-way communication, which not only decimates information, but also provides a platform for feedback – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, are such examples (Sociology Central, 3).

Body image is defined as “… the multifaceted psychological experience of embodiment, especially but not exclusively one’s physical appearance” (Cash, 1). Self-esteem, overall appearance and body satisfaction are some of the values that one may perceive when it comes to body image but the perception of body image differ based on individuals. External factors also affect one’s perception on body image.

Why is this topic of utmost importance? Undeniably, the media now has become an essential tool for everyone in this era, be it for information and social networking (Shakeel). However, it has also become a platform for people to look up to – for both the good and bad reasons. Generally, most females look to the media as an example for an “ideal” body image. If so, what are the impacts? To what extent does mass media contribute to negative perceptions of body image by females? Does the amount of time spent using the mass media contribute to females’ perception of their body image? What factors influence why some females are affected by the images of the media and some aren’t? This literatu...

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...nly does have an effect when they are exposed to mass media frequently, which brings us back to the cultivation theory. This group will perceive that what they had seen on mass media is the “reality”, which might not be the case all the time. Not only do these media images have a negative impact on females, they do have a positive impact as well. These images may be a form of inspiration and motivation for these females to work hard to achieve their ideal body image.
Finally, we need to understand that the review might not be everything related to the relationships between mass media and females’ perceptions of body image. In particular, most studies that were featured in this literature review were conducted not from a local context but it will be able to aid us in the formulation of our survey questions for our specific sample group of a particular population.

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