The Media is Destroyng the Self-Image of Adolescents

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Our world is one dominated by the media. The media helps us know what is going on in the world, decide on places to go, where we should eat, and even for some what and how much we should eat. Media has come to far and is now affecting in major numbers the way adolescents view themselves. The way media is doing this is sometimes subtle and other times blatantly obvious. In these articles three different ways the media works to effect adolescents are analyzed and show the impact the media has on our world today. Fiji put tv on a diet by Laura Butterbaugh In this article the author, Laura butterbanugh, discuses the research done by Harvard Medical School when they watched the effects of introducing television to Fiji. The research conducted by Harvard Medical School was in an attempt to gather scientific information on whether television has and effect on an individual’s perception of himself or herself. Before 1995 Fiji was a different world, one untouched by media and its push for the perfect body. In Fiji, a few years before television was brought in, students from Harvard Medical School went and surveyed the adolescent Fijian girls. When asked about anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders the majority of the girls did not have self-image issues and thought that wanting to be skinny was odd. Before television was introduced to the island the culture’s ideal for the female’s body was heavier and more curvaceous. The word “skinny” was even sometimes taken as an insult. Latter in 1998, two years after television had been brought to the island, the percentage of girls who had eating disorders had skyrocketed. After television was introduced to Fiji the percentage of girls who viewed themselves as “overweight” was over 50 percent. Instead of a culture that focused on food and eating as an important part of their society the younger generation had turned to trying to fit themselves to fit the ideal of the cultures that broadcasted on the televisions. The televisions in Fiji only had one channel on which shows from the United States, Brittan, and Australia were broadcasted. In 1998 students from Harvard Medical University went back to Fiji and found that girls who watched television three or more times a week were 30 percent more likely to be on a diet. Research also showed that 69 percent of adolescent girls, averaging about 17 years of age, were either on, or had been on, a diet in the past three years since television came to the island.

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