Effects Of Media On Adolescents’ Body Image

1162 words - 5 pages

“By producing ideals that are absurdly out of line with what real bodies look like, the media perpetuates a market for frustration and disappointment. Its customers will never disappear”, announced Paul Hamburg, Harvard Medical School. The media projects an ideal of perfection unattainable by the viewing public, therefore causing a negative effect on how adolescents view their bodies. Advertisements can be seen anywhere: televisions, movies, magazines, billboards, and even on the internet.
The media portrays physical perfection as the main goal that viewers should strive to achieve. According to the American Association of University Women, “the way I look” is the most important indicator of self-worth. The media has influenced all people to believe that our self values are measured by our attractiveness and appeal. It has been proven that only about 5% of women have the genetic makeup to ever be able to achieve the ultra-long and lean model body type. This proves that women all over the country are fighting a battle that can’t be won; a battle against themselves. Also, twenty-five years ago the average female body was 8% less than the average American woman’s body. Now, the average model weighs 23% below her average weight.
Media advertisement agencies don’t disclose the actual photo retouch process, therefore convincing viewers that the model’s body is natural. The media tricks viewers in multiple ways. Before a photo has even been shot, special lighting techniques are used by the photographer to manipulate the appearance of the photo. Next, the photo retouch process begins. This process can tweak certain parts of the model’s body to make it more appealing, or perfect. Body parts can even be replaced with another’s if the agency desires.
Magazine covers promote the idea that viewers should not be satisfied with their looks. Women’s magazines have 10 ½% more ads and articles promoting weight loss than men’s magazines do, with over ¾ of the covers including messages about how to change a woman’s appearance. This makes it seem unnatural when a woman or girl feels comfortable with her appearance. Through the media, cosmetic surgery is presented as a perfectly natural, affordable, routine procedure that is growing increasingly popular. Images of celebrities, such as Cher after extensive surgical procedures are prevalent in the media. This convinces viewers that plastic surgery is completely normal, and that people should enhance their appearance.
By advertising the ‘desired’ ideals of perfection, the media in America has created size prejudices. Thin or muscular bodies are associated with being “hardworking, successful, strong, and self disciplined”. Larger than average body types are commonly associated with labels such as “ignorant, lazy, weak, and lacking will power”. The media has come to not only influence how people see themselves, but also how people view others.
Throughout history in America, the media has produced ideals of...

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