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Media Effect On Body Image Essay

1920 words - 8 pages

Media Effect on body imageA most commonly and constantly projected model via all sorts of media, such as TV shows, magazines, commercials and movies, among others, is the "thin ideal", according to which women need to have a certain physique, distinguished by a small waist and very little body fat (Jones, 2003). What is common among women that urge to be extremely thin, reaching the "thin ideal" model, is the fact that they feel more socially accepted that way. Unfortunately, the size of the highly sought-after idyllically thin female figure keeps decreasing and makes it rather an elusive dream, than something achievable, which contributes to women that care much about having an "expected appearance" experiencing psychological issues (Pinhas et.al, 1998). The aforementioned phenomenon is more intense among teenagers that seem to care too much about their peers' opinion and they need to feel they fit in a community (Deci & Ryan, 2002).According to the National Eating Disorder Association, the national rates of eating disorders have sky-rocketed in the last 70 years and even though the exact reasons for that increase are not yet determined there have been research that portray women with body-dissatisfaction and low self-esteem, which is why the bulimia incidents among women from the ages of 10 to 39 have tripled, within five years, ending in 1993 (2006).However, since the media are introduced to one's life at a more and more younger age within the passage of years, children are also greatly exposed to the media effects and influenced by the body models projected to them.Reaching for the ideal body figure looks like a never-ending struggle, which makes us wonder: Could it be that this constant reminder of the «ideal thin» body model creates a negative body image, hence is held responsible for generating a lowered self-esteem and body dissatisfaction, not only to women, but also men and children?Body dissatisfaction and Impact of Media on Body Image in TeenagersBody image is «the internal representation of one's own outer appearance which reflects physical and perceptual dimensions» (Borzekowski & Bayer, 2005). If an individual has a poor body image, it is highly likely they have reduced self-esteem too, and consequently have body dissatisfaction. Dianne Neumark- Sztainer, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D, Professor at the University of Minnesota, defines body dissatisfaction as «the affective component of the multidimensional construct of body image, that is how individuals feel about their body» (2005). According to Grabe, Hyde and Ward: «50% of girls and undergraduate women report being dissatisfied with their bodies» (2008). They also found out that there is a connection between body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, since people that are not satisfied with the way they look are more prompt to develop eating disorders in order to achieve a leaner, thinner and more "socially accepted" body...

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