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Modifying The Perceptions Of Body Imagery.

4282 words - 17 pages

Modifying the Perceptions of Body ImageryAccording to Linda Overstreet writer of "Negative Body Images, Society and Media," "chances are that you will know at least two people who will commit suicide during their teen years" (Overstreet 4). These may or not be people who are in one's circle of friends. My first exposure to suicide was in the ninth grade when I heard about a girl in my high school who had killed herself. I remember thinking, "why in the world would she have done this?" She was so pretty, and she was popular. Furthermore, she seemed to have it all, intelligence, friends, and a family that loved her. "What could be so wrong with her life that she felt she had no other choice?" I heard after the funeral her mother was going through her things and came across her diary. In the diary, she wrote that she couldn't deal with life anymore. Later, I was told that her friends began to distance themselves from her because she became more and more negative in her thinking of herself. She developed anorexia nervosa as she continued to believe that she was ugly and overweight. Her self-loathing eventually turned fatal as she took an overdose of pills before bed one night.Andrew Colman, author of the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology implies that "body image" is defined as a mental representation of one's own physical appearance, based partly on self-observation and partly on the reactions of others" (Colman 99). It is safe to say that these days society places too much emphasis on body image. In America today, looks mean everything. Let's face it; we live in a world where one is judged by his/her appearance. Surrounded by thin models and TV stars, teenage girls are taught to achieve an impossible goal. As a result, many teenage girls and women intensely dislike their bodies. According to Mary C. Martin and James W. Gentry, marketing professors, and writers of "Stuck in the Model Trap," "the desire to look like a model has contributed to what could be an outbreak in eating disorders among women and teenage girls" (Martin and Gentry 23).According to Dr. Jeffrey Stevenson, plastic surgeon, most people watch an average of twenty-two hours of TV a week and are deluged with images of fat-free bodies in the pages of health, fashion, and teen magazines, making the "standard" impossible to achieve (Stevenson 1). Women strive for the "perfect" body and judge themselves by their looks, appearance, and above all thinness. As one can see the media plays a huge part in how satisfied or dissatisfied one feels about his/her body. The way the media portrays beauty today greatly affects how people perceive their appearance.Take Cosmo magazine for an example. With the idealization of thinness advertising tells women that to be beautiful; one must be tall and skinny. The media promises that if people fit the ideal image they will have increased self esteem, popularity, and confidence which are traits that everyone would like to have. The message "thin is in" is sold...

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