Anorexia and bulimia are one of the main causes along with the media as to why adolescent girls are always slightly underweight and devastating skinny. If the media didn’t interfere with adolescent perceptions, maybe one half of fourth grade girls wouldn’t be on a diet. Intense fear of becoming fat and distorted body images aren’t the kinds of thing we want our adolescents girls to become. To think about their appearance and weight 24/7 isn’t right. The media should stop publicizing young female bodies and telling them what beauty is perceived to them.
Media makes minors believe that in order to fit into society, they must become "thinner" or "prettier". Magazines, articles, and television all coercion teens to be concerned about their body image, but it is not even real. The actors and actresses are photoshopped and modified into an image that is impossible to become. Also, almost 80% of women say that they feel insecure with their own self image due to the images of celebrities and models on television (“Media Influence”). Media has not only had its effect on women, but on men as well.
Advertising creates unhealthy and even dangerous stereotypes and mindsets in the people of today’s society. Advertisements play upon people’s insecurities, promising the viewer that, with the help of the product in question, the viewer can become a better person. There are many insecurities taken advantage of, but the most obvious and frequent is beauty. Women are strongly affected by this. After all, how could they not be when media is promoting a body type thinner, taller, and sexier than their own?
Media depicts women as ultra thin actresses and models, with this came an increase in women's concerns with their bodies. As teens grow up watching these images and depictions of women, they idolize them as something that they want to turn into. “The sexualization of girls and women in the media is a growing concern” said Emma Stydahar “It creates a limiting idea of beauty in our society.”(Nackman) We idolize these women that have been continually photo shopped and done up as if they were dolls. Teen girls are being continually subjected to magazine articles telling them that they should not be happy with themselves and to change their appearance. The media has changed the way women are now seen by both women and men alike.
The media has a huge impact on the way people think, feel and act in society. The media set standards that are and are not socially acceptable to each culture. Magazines show us how to dress, TV shows show us how to act and advertisements show us what to buy. Most importantly, the media influences us to continue to live in a patriarchal society in which males are considered to be the more powerful sex, thus women have disadvantages in all aspects of society. Mass media is especially harmful toward women because it constructs negative perceptions of women and reinforces a set of cultural norms for them to fit in society.
With so much time spent on media influenced activities, and the constant exposure to unhealthy models, it is no surprise that women are being influenced. Most female fashions models wear a size two or four, while the average American wears a size twelve or fourteen (Mirror-Mirror).When advertisements manipulate the photos of their models, it alters the way that women view themselves. Advertisers should not be allowed to promote unhealthy body images because it leads to an increase in self-consciousness, eating disorders, and suicide. The media's emphasis on having a flawless body, or face is starting to influence girls at a very young age. When given a unrealistically thin doll, such as Barbie to play with, girls ages five to seven said that they wished to be thinner (Swinson).
This nearly impossible beauty standard is reflected and enforced by advertisements showing emaciated models selling products to smooth out bumps, reduce wrinkles, or tone the body. The media’s depiction of female bodies has a detrimental influence on women’s perception of themselves and has come under fire in recent years. Girls growing up in our media soaked culture internalize society’s ever-thinning standard of beauty, believing that they can never be slender enough. The negative effect of the media has been linked to the spread of eating disorders (“Never Just Pictures”, Thompson). This has led to a public outcry against impossibly thin, airbrushed models and a demand for more honest advertising.
However, it is evident that the media usually presents and sexualizes women who are “young, fit and beautiful” hence probably creating self esteem issues more than confidence especially in younger women who are religious towards the media’s expectations. This stereotype of being a desired body shape only forces women to meet unattainable perfect physical standards (Gill 2015). The media bombards the youth with gender representations and the types of bodies that are deemed to be attractive. Many teenagers all around the world are desperate to lose weight to be “beautiful”. A study shows that 44% of Latino high school students aim to lose weight due to the representations of media and stereotypes.
A Distorted Perception of Beauty: Media’s Influence on Body Image In today’s society, young women are developing a distorted perception of beauty because of the affects of media: advertising, magazines, and television and movies. Almost every image in the media features a picture of a young woman who is edited almost beyond recognition. It seems that every image of a young woman is the media’s “perfect lie,” that is hardly any image is pure or untouched. This perfect lie negatively effects young women’s perception of their look, style, and body. These false images cause severe consequences in young women’s physical and emotional aspects, negatively effecting how they perceive themselves.
Unfortunately today we are exposed to the media constantly, which invariably influences girls' self-images, often negatively. I look at myself in the mirror and see a body that can afford to lose ten to fifteen pounds. I frequently find myself comparing my body to all of the models and actresses on television. The media is influencing my self-image and causing me to think I do not look good enough according to our society, when I am average weight in reality. One component of the media is advertisements.