As mentioned before, unrealistic media images are very prevalent. This creates the illusion that females who match the ideal seem like the norm rather than the exception. These perceptions and the constant comparisons lead to the cultivation theory which is known as the contributions media exposure makes to the viewer’s perceptions of social reality (Von Vonderen and Kinnally 53). The repetitiveness of these images influences the individual’s ability to understand that the images are unrealistic. 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). Therefore, if a woman is unable to determine that the media is unrealistic she will be more likely to internalize the images and be more prone to body dissatisfaction.
This is also related to the idea of resonance, which also explains why women and young girls internalize media images. These idea says that viewers’ life experiences affect their perceptions of television. So, if an individual’s life experiences are similar to the media content that they are viewing, the m...
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