Normative Discontent of Body Image Essay

Normative Discontent of Body Image Essay

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Many people in modern culture have developed what has been termed a normative discontent with their bodies. Women are particularly vulnerable to this development of body dissatisfaction, which has been shown to create numerous negative heath issues. These health issues are a direct result from trying to achieve the unrealistic ideal image media has created. This idea on how the body should look floods modern media and women are discriminated upon if they are unable to meet these strict physical requirements. However, unknown to the masses, the majority of the physical characteristics portrayed are achieved from digital enhancement and not only the product of weight loss. It is my goal within this paper to discuss the populations affected by negative media images, discuss the reason why its effects are so great, and to explore the way to reduce the rising trend of body dissatisfaction.
Historically, the ideal female body was a strong and full-figured woman that had full curves such as the movie icon, Marilyn Monroe. However, around the 1900s our society’s view on beauty quickly changed as we are now obsessed with the thin physiques we see today. As time progressed, models have gone from thin to emaciated, which has controversy increased the development of problems such as eating disorders. At the same time we have also started to view full-figured women to be unhealthy and lack the self-control you must possess in order to maintain a thin physique. This thin at all costs movement now defines western culture and tells young girls how to look. In 1975, most models weighed 8 percent less than the average woman; today they weigh 23 percent less (Cite why do women hate their body). As models in popular media shed extreme levels of body ...


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...land. Young girls soon desired to resemble the slender stars of popular reality television shows such as Beverly Hills 90210 rather than taking after their healthy weighted mothers. In a landmark study of Fijian girls, Harvard researchers concluded the introduction of television greatly contributed to dramatic increases in eating disorders observed within a three year span. After three years of this exposure, 74 percent of teenage girls in Fiji described themselves as fat. Another significant finding in this study was the percent of girl that develop body image issues is directly related to the amount of exposure to western media. Girls who watched television three or more nights a week were 30 percent more likely to go on a diet and 50 percent more likely to describe themselves as ''too big or fat'' when compared to their peers who watched less western television.

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