Medias Influence on Adolescent Girls Body Image, Identity and Sexuality

Medias Influence on Adolescent Girls Body Image, Identity and Sexuality

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Medias Influence on Adolescent Girls Body Image, Identity and Sexuality
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     Gender Identity begins in early childhood when roles are given to children as to which toys they should play or not play with. A child’s body image is influenced by how people around her react to her body and how she looks. A pre-adolescent becomes more aware of what society’s standards are for the ideal body. The media has always had images of what the ideal woman should be. As in the way she should look and the way she acts. The media today does and doesn’t always depict what is good for an adolescent or pre-adolescent to believe about themselves. There are also many good influences from the media. Role models such as Oprah and Ricki Lake have given many adolescents more of an ideal individuality to strive for.

     Young girls look at their images in the mirror and don’t like what they see. Does this sound right? Girls as young as nine years old report dissatisfaction with their bodies. Girls tend to struggle with body image in far greater numbers than boys. Boys don’t focus as much on their body shape and size as do girls. Some attention to body size and shape is part of the normal growing process. As children reach adolescence their bodies change and children especially young girls become more aware of how they look. Some of these feelings are normal. But when a girls life is affected by her thinking about her looks it turns into a problem. Avoidance and Isolation are signs of a problem beginning. Being positive and having healthy relationships help girls maintain positive body images. The ability to talk to someone, whether it be a parent or friend or coach, can help reinforce healthy body images. Self esteem is the key component to a healthy body image. For the most part if a girl displays confidence and personal control, the likelihood of a positive body image is greater.

     The four top selling magazines with a target audience of teen females are Seventeen, Sassy, Teen and YM. “In similar fashion, magazine and book reading gradually increase during adolescence. Approximately one-third of high school juniors and senior say that they read magazines daily.”(Textbook) These magazines often show positive and negative images of young and older women. They are often times covere...


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...ather to help television paint a more realistic picture of the responsibilities and risks that accompany sexual activity. The Media Project provides accurate information, script consultation, and story ideas to many teen- and adult-oriented shows – such as Dawson's Creek (WB), Any Day Now (Lifetime), Felicity (WB), Sex and the City (HBO), Moesha (UPN), Judging Amy (CBS), and Strong Medicine (Lifetime). In an additional effort to encourage the television industry to embrace the issue of positive sexuality and to highlight current programs that succeed in portraying sexual health issues without compromising entertainment value. (Transitions).

Not one thing can influence a Adolescent girl about her body or image or sexuality. Many things can. But as I’ve talked about in this paper the media presents a huge influence on adolescents. Some media is good, some is bad. In order for adolescents to learn correctly they need to start at home. Parents must tell them which is good shows and bad, and sit down and ask them questions. Adolescents are at a critical time in their lives, any influence on their outlook on sexuality, body image or identity could damage or help them in the long run.

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