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Media's Influence On Young Girls Essay

3080 words - 12 pages

Introduction: Media's Influence on Young girlsMedia is a huge influence today. Our culture is media-saturated: ads, TV, radio, internet, movies, magazines, newspapers, billboards, video games, logos. Media sends messages on several levels: written words which people think are most important but they really aren't; images which are much more powerful than people tend to think; and sounds (music) which create feelings that people are not often conscious of. Media images are coded to reinforce ideology, or the dominant beliefs of a society. What needs to be conquered is the "common sense" ideals our society holds, like being beautiful means being thin, tan, buff, tall, but not too tall, with shiny hair, flawless skin, undimpled thighs and abs of steel. This isn't common sense because it's true; its common sense because that's the message society has been bombarded with for years. The most frightening part is that this destructive message is reaching children especially girls. Specifically this paper will address the following: Does the media have the ability to influence young girls to be thin, as well as, engage in sexual activity, and does the media exploit women? Through the tremendous amount of research collected by books, encyclopedias, the internet, and a survey conducted amongst thirty girls, it will be demonstrated that the media has influenced girls to be more worried about their appearance, further open to sexual doings, and has exploited women to the point where depression is a common outcome for these girls.Media and Body ImageAdvertisers often emphasize sexuality and the importance of physical attractiveness in an attempt to sell products, but researchers are concerned that this places too much pressure on young girls to focus on their appearance. In a recent survey by Teen People magazine, 27% of the girls felt that the media pressures them to have a perfect body,1 and a poll conducted in 1996 by the international ad agency Saatchi and Saatchi found that ads made women and girls fear being unattractive.2 Researchers suggest advertising media may adversely impact girls body image, which can lead to unhealthy behavior as they strive for the ultra-thin body idealized by the media.The average girl sees four hundred to six hundred advertisements per day,3 and by the time she is seventeen years old, she has received over two hundred and fifty thousand commercial messages through the media.4 Only 9% of commercials have a direct statement about beauty,5 but many more implicitly emphasize the importance of beauty, particularly those that target women and girls. One study of Saturday morning toy commercials found that 50% of commercials aimed at girls spoke about physical attractiveness, while none of the commercials aimed at boys referred to appearance.6 Other studies found 50% of advertisements in teen girl magazines and 56% of television commercials aimed at female viewers used beauty as a product appeal.7 This constant exposure to...

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