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Media And Its Effect On Body Image

2166 words - 9 pages

“I think the media needs to take responsibility for the effect it has on our younger generation, on these girls that are watching these television shows and picking up how to talk and how to be cool.” (Bridgeman). This quote is from Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, expressing her feelings about the media and its effect on body image in an interview with Marie Claire. Lawrence has expressed her frustrations with the media and her weight in many interviews. She feels that Hollywood thinks she is too fat to be an actress, according to their standards.
The media can influence how we think, feel, and behave. The media slowly changes our subconscious thoughts over long term exposure. Advertisers program the way we feel about ourselves and make us think about products we need to make ourselves look and feel better. The media affects our lives more than most people realize, and it is a highly researched topic. There is an estimated 6,200 published studies on how the media affects us (Potter). Not all affects are readily noticeable in our everyday lives, but that does not mean they are any less important. An important thing to keep in mind is that media can keep affecting someone even after direct contact has stopped, because the information is already been processed in our minds.
How much does the media influence society? Sociologists have referred to America as a mediated culture, which means that the media creates and reflects the culture (Role and Influences). Society today is slammed with multimedia showing advertisements, talk shows, and news channel which promote products, moods, political views, and also highlight what they think is important (Role and Influences). Television and news stations can filter the information so that society only sees and hears what they want them to.
What is body image? Body image of oneself is a combination of two ideas; body perception and body satisfaction. Body perception is an individual’s assessment of their own body. Body satisfaction is how content one is with their body. Body image can be measured differently depending on the study, but the most common techniques used are questionnaires, actual body measurements, and drawings where participants select pictures to represent ideal body types (Burrowes).
Body image mostly focuses around women, but men are affected as well just in different ways. Instead of being concerned with being thin, men are more focused on being muscular. This is due to that most men in advertisements and in magazines are shown as fit and muscular. In the past 25 years men’s body dissatisfaction has tripled (Gregor). Poor body image tends to peak in men around ages 40-45 as they begin to be concerned with hair loss, their stomach, and chest (Body Image Studies). While women tend to diet and starve themselves to lose weight, men tend to focus on gaining weight through muscle mass. In order to achieve this, men take protein supplements and sometimes steroids. Body...

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