The Media's Influence on Body Image

4388 Words18 Pages
Eleven million women in the United States suffer from eating disorders- either self-induced semistarvation (anorexia nervosa) or a cycle of bingeing and purging with laxatives, self-induced vomiting, or excessive exercise (bulimia nervosa) (Dunn, 1992). Many eating disorder specialists agree that chronic dieting is a direct consequence of the social pressure on American females to achieve a nearly impossible thinness. The media has been denounced for upholding and perhaps even creating the emaciated standard of beauty by which females are taught from childhood to judge the worth of their own bodies (Stephens & Hill, 1994). To explore the broader context of this controversial issue, this paper draws upon several aspects influencing women?s body image. First, this paper examines the concept of body image and the problems associated with chronic dieting and the diet industry. Next, is an exploration of the prevalence and the source of body dissatisfaction in American females. It also considers existing research that presents several important aspects regarding the nature of the connection between advertising and body dissatisfaction. From these distinctions, it will be shown that the media has a large impact on women?s body image and that the cultural ideal of a thin body is detrimental to the American female?s body perception which often results in poor eating pathologies. Body image can be defined as a individual?s subjective concept of his or her physical appearance. Body image involves both a perceptual and attitudinal element. The self-perceptual component consists of what an individual sees or thinks in body size, shape, appearance. A disturbance in the perceptual element of body image is generally reflected in a... ... middle of paper ... ...t Life Size. Sex Roles, 34, 287-293. Ogletree, S/, Williams, P., Mason, B., & Fricke, K. (1990). Female attractiveness and Eating Disorders. Sex Roles, 22, 791-797. Rabek-Wagener, J., & Eickhoff-Shemek, J. (1998). The Effect of Media Analysis on Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Body Image among College Females. Journal of American College Health, 47, 29-37. Shaw, J., & Waller, G. (1995), The Media?s Impact on Body Image: Implications for Prevention and Treatment. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 3, 115-123. Stephens, D., & Hill, R., (1994). The Beauty Myth And Female Consumers: The Controversial Role of Advertising. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 28, 137-154. Stuhldreher, W., & Ryan, W. (1999). Factors Associated with Distortions in Body Image Perceptions in College Women. American Journal of Health, 15, 8-15.
Open Document