Media And Body Image Among Young Women Attending Universities Essay

Media And Body Image Among Young Women Attending Universities Essay

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Body image is a mental representation that is socially constructed and impacts a large majority of people. Body image is subject to internal and external distortions (Atkins & Cataldo, 2013). For example, how one visualizes him or herself may conflict with how the world perceives them. Throughout history, individuals have idolized and categorized beauty. Beauty is a socially constructed concept that has different standards depending on the culture and time period. In the 21st century media, celebrities, and fitness fads significantly influence women and men’s attitudes toward their bodies. Body image is absorbed through a series of positive and negative messages that we acquire consciously and unconsciously throughout our lifespan. During the human lifespan we go through numerous milestones when body image may specifically change (Atkins & Cataldo, 2013).
Attending a University is one milestone that signifies the beginning of adulthood. Tiggemann and Zaccardo (2015) conducted research to explore the relationship between media and body image among young women attending universities. Studying university students is prevalent in researching body image because of the frequent use of social media and fashion magazines among young adults. Women’s magazines are one media format that focuses on body image and revenue. “For example, 83% of teenage girl’s report spending a mean of 4.3 hours a week reading magazines for pleasure or school” (Thompson & Heinberg, 1999, p. 341). The images presented in magazines are often unattainable for the average women and tends to oppress and manipulate women’s physical and mental health into conforming to the ideal (Wolf, 1991). Women 's magazines, probably more than any other form of mass media, have be...


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...erraro, and Butler (2011) produced research that aimed to revel the relationship between gender, body image, and media. It is crucial to study gender along with body image because body image is gendered though socialization.
Media and societal influences shape people’s perceptions of body image throughout the lifespan. Men and women are primed from a young age through magazines, TV shows, social media apps and more to conform to the ideal standards of beauty. As people move through the different milestones of the human lifespan their body image expectations and motivations change. It is essential to study body image to understand the effect it has on our physical, emotional, and psychological health. Exploring body image though the categories of university students, ethnicity, pregnancy, and gender helps to gain a well rounded view of medias effects on body image.

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