Mass Media platforms can be defined as social media, magazines, newspaper, television, movies, advertisements and Internet (including social media) (Vonderen & Kinnally). Body image is a complicated aspect of self-concept that concerns an individual’s attitudes, perception, satisfaction, behaviours and feelings about their body and physical appearance. Females of all ages seem to be particularly vulnerable to disturbance in this area. It affects almost all women at some level and women of all ages and sizes display body image disturbance (Sedar).
It is important to investigate this topic because the importance of physical appearance is emphasized and reinforced early in most girls' ...view middle of the document...
Content analyses have revealed that the ideal female body portrayed in mass media can be easily summarised as, “thin is normal and attractive” and “fat is aberrant and repulsive.” Mass media also depicts being thin as highly desirable and being fat as undesirable (Levin & Harrison, 494).
Surveys of elementary school girls and college women confirm that females who compare themselves to the models in fashion magazines report greater body dissatisfaction. However, some studies suggest that the tendency to compare one’s body and appearance to that of the models and celebrities during media exposure is more important than the extent of exposure itself (Levin & Harrison, 497). Based on cross-sectional survey methods, most studies support the hypothesis that mass media in general, and fashion-glamour magazines in particular, have the potential to encourage widespread and influential internalisations of the thin body ideal. Unrealistic media images of women are so prevalent that it seems that females who fulfill such a standard are more the norm than the exception.
However, we can have a positive body image when we have a realistic perception of our bodies and love them just as they are. Positive body image involves understanding that healthy attractive bodies come in many shapes and sizes, and that physical appearance says very little about our character or value. Healthy body image means that our assessment of our bodies is kept separate from our sense of self-esteem, and it ensures that we don’t spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight and calories.
Dove’s Campaign on Real Beauty was to widen the definition of beauty. In 2004, Dove launched a series of adverts and online videos, questioning the prevailing beauty aesthetic. Using models of different ages, body shapes, and races, they hoped to subvert the detrimental effect that traditional advertisements have had on the self-esteem women. This was dubbed the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and gave rise to the subsequent Dove Self Esteem Programme. A Dove survey reveals that, in the past five years, the number of women who would like to see ‘real’ models used in advertising has risen from 74% to an astronomical 95%. It is little wonder then, that the Dove Self Esteem Fund became a household name and the Dove brand has been inextricably linked with positive body image ever since its inception (Crilly).
Amount of Time Spent on Mass Media Affects Perception of Body Image by Females
Cultivation theory argues that images that portray females who match the sociocultural ideal of beauty are extremely prevalent in popular media, and that repetitive exposure to such images influences females’ abilities to understand that such standards are unrealistic. However, as females constantly view images of tall, thin women that are shown in mass media, there is a cumulative effect over time, where many females adopt this unrealistic standard of beauty as "reality." Many come to view...