The Media's Dangerous Perception of the Ideal Body Image

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Tonight, Captain America: The First Avenger was airing on public television, so I decided to re-watch this fantastic Marvel movie. The main character, Steve Rogers, is a big-hearted, anemic-bodied American in the middle of World War 2. His grocery list of health issues and lacking physique resulted in several rejections from the enlistment officers. However thanks to his friendly German doctor, he eventually found himself injected with a serum that made him the perfect specimen of an American soldier (“Captain America: The First Avenger). Rogers went on to become one of the most iconic superheros ever to grace the comic book and media outlets, in his world and ours. There is no question as to why: Rogers is tall, blonde with an incredible shoulder-to-hip ratio and a rock-hard eight pack. Any man in their right mind would want to look like Captain America, but how can they? After all, even the captain didn't look like the captain before injecting himself with questionable chemicals. There is a big discrepancy between what the media shows as perfect and what is normally genetically possible within the human body, and its becoming a dangerous issue. Body image is defined as the way a person perceives their own body and the way a person assumes others perceive them. While it involves a person's “perception, imagination, emotions, and physical sensations”, body image is a fluid concept that is constantly adapting to their self and to their environment (“Body Image”). Body image is tightly linked with self-esteem and mental health because “when [people] feel bad about their bodies, they often feel bad about themselves” (“Body Image”). Holding negative opinions often leads to unfavorable results, causing something a phenomena similar to... ... middle of paper ... ...Anabolic Steroids." NIDA for Teens. National Institute of Drug Abuse, 3 Feb. 2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. "Body Image." AboutFace. About-Face Media Literacy, Inc., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. Body Revolution. Prod. Global Democracy. Youtube.com. Global Revolution, 2011. Web. Captain America: The First Avenger. Dir. Joe Johnston. Perf. Chris Evans. Paramount Pictures, 2011. DVD. "Eating Disorder Statistics." ANAD.org. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Rader Programs. "Media Influence." RaderPrograms.com. Rader Programs, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. "Self Image/Media Influences." Just Say Yes. Just Say YES – Youth Equipped to Succeed, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. "Television Watching Statistics." Statistic Brain. Ed. American Time Use Survey A.C. Nielsen Co. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7 Dec. 2012. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.

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