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Effects Of The Media On Young Girls

2324 words - 9 pages

Effects of the Media on Young Girls

I can remember her standing in front of the mirror looking at herself. How she thought she was beautiful, I don’t know. Because the image I saw was of a person who looked like a living corpse. She had to have weighed only 100 pounds, her hair so thin, the black bags under her eyes, and her overall grayish complexion made her look as if she were a dead. As she saw me staring at her in the corner of her eye, she slammed the door in my face. That was the big sister that I knew now. She was no longer the big sister that I could go to and get advice from or have a good laugh with. No, she was too busy with her own schedule and not to mention her terrible mood swings. My older sister Jessica was one of the many teenage girls who suffered from an eating disorder known as Anorexia Nervosa. Eating disorders have increased severely in the past 20 years among young girls and has now become a major problem in the United States. Many experts have tried to find the cause of eating disorders, and one of the many solutions is the effects that the media has over young girls. By using super thin models and actresses, the media illustrates the message that happiness and success comes with a thin body. The messages portray that to be thin as teen idols and models requires people to achieve a weight that is not healthy. To these young girls, the media’s message of thinness contributes to their low self-esteem on body image which leads to dangerous eating disorders.

The media is an important aspect of today’s culture. Almost every household in the Untied States owns a television set and the average American watches 3 to 5 hours of television a day. Television is not the only source of media. Millions of magazines and newspapers are bought daily, and not to mention the new widespread use of the computer and internet. The media plays a major role in the way our society sets certain standards and forms opinions. No matter where we go, the media is everywhere. The message that the media illustrates today is that “thin is in”. When was the last time you flipped through a magazine or through the television channels without seeing some type of advertisement promoting a new diet or new product being promoted by a super thin model or actress? Young girls are the main targets for new products. It is common for young girls to be obsessed with what is “in”. The message that young girls are getting from the media is that having bones sticking out is the way to look. They then become preoccupied with their bodies and self image. “ The exposure to ideal images coincides with a period in their lives where self regard and self efficacy is in decline, where body image is at its most fragile due to physical changes of puberty and where tendency for social comparison is at its peak” (www.eating-disorders.org.uk/docs/media.doc). The media illustrates to young girls an “idealized” shape which leads to...

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