The Media’s Effect on Adolescent Bodies

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The Media’s Effect on Adolescent Bodies

The stringent standard Barbie-doll proportions of body image and what is considered beautiful in today’s media has resulted in devastating effects on adolescent women. The images displayed of women who have long beautiful legs, thin waist lines and smooth flawless skin are very hard to ignore. Throughout history the female body has been on display as a selling tool to coerce people into buying that new fancy car or the latest new appliance that can make their everyday lives easier. Commercials of the extremely thin Kelly Ripa can act as a mantra of what a modern day picture perfect house wife should look like standing beside her magical ovens and washing machines. There are also constant ads on billboards, TV, magazines and in shopping malls of size zero girls in the latest fashion designs. The media can be applauded on its successful campaigns that have made young girls accustomed to striving to live up to the narrow, often uniform standards of what a beautiful girl should look like. Television shows like “Gossip Girl”, “Beverly Hills 90210” and movies like “Mean Girls” bombard young girls the media’s current trend of what is considered beautiful. Even at the tender ages between 3-to-10 years old, young girls are plagued by images in the media. These girls see fairy tale princesses like Disney’s’ (Ariel) The Little Mermaid, (Belle) from Beauty and The Beast, Cinderella and princess (Jasmine) Aladdin. They are all featured with very small waists and ideal symmetric facial features with very well proportioned curves that will surely catch the eye of any prince. These types of images are etched in the minds of girls when they are at a young age which leads them to turn to the media as a gu...

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...ucated and equipped to handle media propaganda. Once they are informed how to critically view some of the negative images that exploit young women, they can then associate these unrealistic body images as unhealthy and immoral. Until then the media’s unrealistic standard of the female body will continue to be exploited for nothing more than profit.

Works Cited

Gapinski, Katherine D, Kelly D Brownell and M LaFrance. "Body Objectification and "Fat Talk"." Effects on Emotion,Motivation, and Cognitive performance, Sex Roles 1 May 2003: 377-78.

Orbach, Susie. Bodies. New York: Picador, 2009.

Our Bodies Ourselves, Health Resource Center. 2005. 4 April 2011 .

Willis, Laurie. The Culture Of Beauty. Detroit: Christine Nasso, 2010.

Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth. New York: Bantham Doubleday, 1991.
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