Mass media consists of a range of multimedia technologies that have enhanced our way of communication. The media conveys norms and attitudes that socially construct those who are involved. Inadvertently, the media depicts a widely accepted misconception of personal image. “Influence of Mass Media on Body Image and Eating Disordered Attitudes and Behaviors in Females” reveals the high correlation between media content and females’ idea of beauty. Although the article does not specify on their intended audience, the reader can infer the audience to be adolescent females and important familiars to them, i.e.
The influence of women in popular culture and how they present themselves can be a breeding place for physical and emotional unrest. When women are objectified in popular culture, they set a standard on how one should appear. Popular culture is transmitting subliminal messages on the must-be waist size of average teenager girls. One can see successful women in mass media and cannot help but associate their success with how they appear, thin. Amiee Nicole Hoffman states that “Study after study has proven that repeated exposure to ideal beauty as portrayed by the media causes detrimental psychological effects in children and adolescents ranging from distorted body images and lowered self-esteem to eating disorders and steroid use.” (1).
Discrimination against heavier women is well documented and steadily increasing at a rapid pace. Studies have confirmed that women who try to achieve the cultural ideals of beauty in America are more susceptible to developing eating disorders. We live in a world of stereotypes, judgments, and assumptions. Although we may not have taken part in creating the prevalent social attitude toward the bodies of women in America, we are still influenced by it. Conscious acknowledgement of harmful stereotypes such as judgments based on appearance, beauty, and size is the key to shifts in attitudes and actions.
While trying to live up to the specific beauty standards that are proliferated through the media by society and culture, a woman’s life is often impacted drastically both physically and psychologically. What remains similar between the bodies flaunted across the media, is that they all possess popular standards of some kind of objective beauty. Women have an aptness to fall prey to advertisers and somehow unknowingly accept the creation of such standards for a woman’s body that is unrealistic for the majority of society. Slender, good-looking models are so prominent in today’s culture that chronic exposure to them reinforces a discrepancy for women between their actual body and the ideal body. Media fuels this unrealistic image and convinces women that in order to be accepted and considered beautiful, you better be fat-less, have silky hair and a flawless complexion.
Mass media influence has expanded since its inception during the 19th century. Media has become a direct influence on people today by shaping social identity and giving people a false sense of contentment. Today mass media has become more influential to society because it sets the standards of what a person’s appearance should look like along with what is beautiful – especially in women. Women have become a focal point for the media to target; media have used a female insecurities to promote products and establish a false perception of beauty. Today, mass media have defined beauty for an ideal woman, and established this ideology across the globe.
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.
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.” References Calvine, Howard. (1999). Depicting Women as sex objects in television advertising: Effects on body dissatisfaction.
Over time the nearly impossible standard of beauty is adopted and perceived as “reality.” People who watch heavy amounts of TV are more likely to see the real world according to what they have watched. Viewers often seek out programming that reinforces their beliefs, further strengthening their attitudes. If a woman has low self-esteem and views media that portrays emaciated models as beautiful, those negative attitudes will only be reinforced. A person’s level of awareness of the characteristics portrayed by the media is an indicator on how they will internalize these images. Females that are more aware of the media’s effects are more likely to be resilient to body image concerns and females that are unaware are more likely to show symptoms of body disturbance (Serdar).
Many advertisements portray women as just body parts or in a submissive stature to extr... ... middle of paper ... ...men agree with that statement”. To sum up, it is often said that advertising is shaping women gender identity, and some have been argued that the statement is true, because of the higher amount of sexual references of women that advertisement show and the damages that occur on women’s personality and the public negative opinions of those women. As well, the negative effects that those kinds of advertisements cause to young generations and make them feel like they should simulate such things and are proud of what they are doing because famous actors are posting their pictures that way. Others deem this case as a personal freedom and absolutely unrelated to shaping women gender identity. On the contrast, they believe that, those sorts of advertisements are seriously teaching women how to stay healthy and be attractive, so they might have self-satisfaction after all.
Effects of Media on Women’s Body Image In this age, media is more pervasive than ever, with people constantly processing some form of entertainment, advertisement or information. In each of these outlets there exists an idealized standard of beauty, statistically shown to effect the consumer’s reflection of themselves. The common portrayal of women’s bodies in the media has shown to have a negative impact on women and girls. As the audience sees these images, an expectation is made of what is normal. This norm does not correspond to the realistic average of the audience.