Body Image Essay

1934 words - 8 pages


Body Image

     The purpose of this study is to further explore and examine the influences of mass media on male’s and female’s personal body image satisfaction and the awareness and internalization of societal pressures regarding appearance. For a number years evidence surrounding the insecurities that women have towards their own bodies has been widely published. More recently, it has been suggested that men are falling victim to media and
societal pressure, and are developing insecurities traditionally associated with women. Much of the body dissatisfaction that we see today can be attributed to the enormous disparity between our current cultural beauty ideals and our actual bodies. Although most of the research surrounding the influences of media on body image has taken the form of analyzing exposure through the examination of such things as magazine content, recent
research has begun to focus on an individual’s awareness of societal pressures, as well as one’s acceptance, or internalization, of these societal standards (Cusumano & Thompson,1997).
     Every culture has standards of beauty. Through the ages and around the world,people have evaluated the appearance of themselves and others. A person’s body image is his or her concept of their physical appearance. The mental representation which may be realistic or unrealistic, is constructed from self-observation, the reactions of others, and a
complex interaction of attitudes, emotions, memories, fantasies, and experiences, both conscious and unconscious. A pleasing appearance has often been associated with higher status, better opportunities to attract a mate and other positive qualities. We live in a society that thrives on first impressions. Many people interact with large numbers of new people everyday, especially in their work lives, and we often have little information about
who these people are, but we do know how they look. We try to size them up based on how they are dressed, how they talk, how they move and their overall physical appearance. People tend to judge a fat person as lazy and self-indulgent and a thin person as organized and disciplined and these stereotypes are reinforced by the media. A study done by Franzoi and Herzog (1987) examined what body parts and functions young adults use in judging physical attractiveness and how they are related to self esteem. They found
that aspects of male self esteem dealt with upper body strength and aspects of female self esteem dealt with weight concerns. They further indicated that men generally have more positive attitudes toward their bodies than women do.
     Levine and associates (1994) reported that 70% of the teenage women who
regularly read fashion magazines considered the magazines an important source of beauty and fitness information. The mass marketing of body images through print media and...

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