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Has The Media’s Portrayal Of Women Negatively Affected The Body Image Of The Wykeham Collegiate Senior School Girls?

3571 words - 15 pages

Has the Media’s Portrayal of Women Negatively Affected the Body Image of The Wykeham Collegiate Senior School Girls?

Sarah Lennon
The Wykeham Collegiate
Grade 12 - 2014
Research Assignment - Life Orientation

Table of Contents


Cover Page 1

Table of Contents 2

Introduction 3

Review of Literature 4

Methodology and Presentation of Findings 8

Processing of Findings 12

Conclusion 14

Reference list 16

Appendix 17


It seems that the media’s portrayal of women has negatively affected the body image of The Wykeham Collegiate senior school girls. The media has a ...view middle of the document...

Through the research conducted and completed questionnaires, it has been interesting to find out why the mass media plays a large role in negatively affecting the senior school students at The Wykeham Collegiate (a private girls only school situated in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal)

This Research Task studies how the mass media negatively affects the senior school students at The Wykeham Collegiate. Through the survey, questions were asked of senior school students at The Wykeham Collegiate concerning on the influence of mass media.
Literature Review

The importance of the body image and what is considered to be the ‘ideal’ body are two of the primary factors that contribute to the negative affect of the media on the teenage society of today.

Body image is a major concern amongst the majority, primarily the youth of the female population, ranging from as young as five years old to tertiary students, ’74.4% of the normal-weight women stated that they thought about their weight or appearance ‘all the time’ or ‘frequently’’ (Brown University, unknown).

The female body image is highly influenced by the mass media and the media’s portrayal of women, ‘70% of college women say they feel worse about their own looks after reading women’s magazines’ (University of Massachusetts & Stanford University, 2006), the portrayal of women in the media has an unrealistic approach and brings out body dissatisfactions and this results in eating problems and disorders.

The factors that affect the dissatisfaction with body image are that of the ideals of physical appearance, the frequent comparison of oneself to others, ‘the more a person focuses on their body image, the worse he tends to feel about how he looks – obsession breeds discontent’ (Pope, Philips, & Olivardia, 2002). This Statement suggests how the more she compares their own body to that they wish to have tends to bring out more dissatisfaction of them.

The factors which affect the body image provide both positive and negative impacts, however these factors contribute mainly towards the negative aspect of the body image. If one has a positive approach to the media’s influence of the body image, one is able to approach it with a realistic perception of one’s own body and have a clear understanding of healthy bodies, in which come in different shapes and sizes.

With a positive approach to the assessment of the body, one is able to prevent any form of body dissatisfaction and keep a high self-esteem. However, often, these factors create a distorted perception towards one’s own body shape and size, this creating a negative and dissatisfied approach to one’s self.

A poor or negative approach to one’s body image links to that of low self-esteem, personal failure, depression, dieting, eating disorders, ‘the more a person focuses on their body, the worse he tends to feel about how he looks’ (Pope, Philips, & Olivardia, 2002), with the constant self-dissatisfaction and self-disinterest one starts to...

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