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How Media Images Promote Body Dissatisfaction

1629 words - 7 pages

Many people in modern culture have developed what has been termed a normative discontent with their bodies. Women are particularly vulnerable to this development of body dissatisfaction, which has been shown to create numerous negative heath issues. These health issues are a direct result from trying to achieve the unrealistic ideal image that media has created. This idea on how the body should look floods modern media and women are discriminated upon if they are unable to meet these strict physical requirements. However, unknown to the masses, the majority of the physical characteristics portrayed are achieved from digital enhancement and not only the product of weight loss. It is my goal ...view middle of the document...

This causes a malnourished state has been known to cause many harmful health problems. Extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, fainting, and dizziness can all be linked improper levels of vitamins or minerals. (cite) On average, women generally have 6 to 11 percent more body fat than men. Studies show that a women’s hormone estrogen reduces their ability to convert food into energy which results in an increase amount of stored body fat. When the body reaches a low body fat percentage Amenorrhea, the loss of menstruation in women is a likely outcome. We are no longer exercising for health benefits; but rather to keep up appearance issues at any cost.
Population most at risk
Historically, the ideal female body was strong and full-figured women that had full curves such as movie icon Marilyn Monroe. In the 1900s, the American public became more consumed with the thin, boyish physique, viewing full-figured women as indulgent and lacking in self-control. In modern times, we’ve witnessed a “thin at all costs” movement that now defines Western culture. Over time, models have gone from thin to emaciated, which has been mirrored by a growing problem of eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction. In 1975 most models weighed 8 percent less than the average woman; today they weigh 23 percent less. Today, the media is a far more powerful influence than ever before. Women are now comparing themselves with images (some of which are merely computerized conglomerations of body parts) that are unrealistically thin.
By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life. According to the study (print) women that are already insecure are more likely to have elevated levels of body dissatisfaction. Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. Many times disorders such as these manifest at a very young age and blossom into something very serious.
Body image also stems from cultural messages. For example, in Polynesian culture, bigger once meant being healthier and stronger. In a landmark 1998 study of girls in Fiji, Harvard researchers demonstrated how the introduction of television contributed to dramatic increases in eating disorders over a three-year period. In a culture that once valued a healthy, robust physique, girls began viewing themselves as fat, going on diets and feeling depressed about the way they looked. After three years, 74 percent of Fijian teenage girls described themselves as too fat. Those who watched TV three or more nights a week were 30 percent more likely to go on a diet than their peers who watched less TV.

Pressure to fit in
As a society, we are constantly trying to better fit into the mold media has created that has...

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