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Should Media Change Women’s Ideal Body Image?

1291 words - 5 pages

In today’s society mass media creates unrealistic body images of women not ever being thin or flawless enough. Advertising companies overly edit and photo shop images of women to create the so-called perfection that is the norm in the advertising world. These images of the “perfect” body send negative messages and create insecurities amongst many women. As the mass media use unrealistic models to advertise its products and services, this sets the idea that the “ideal” woman must be unhealthily thin and blemish free. Advertisements of these “perfect” women negatively affect the way women feel about their physical appearance and therefore affect women mentally as well. Should mass media chose to change the way they advertise and portray the “ideal” women? What if they used healthy, more realistic women to advertise products and services? Advertising companies should strive to portray the “ideal” women as that of real women today and create the message that all women are beautiful.
The mass media portrays the images of thin, flawless women all over magazines, television, billboards, and etc. For some women, the desire to look like that “perfect” model on the television or on that magazine article begins to consume their thoughts and diminish their self-confidence. As stated in the article “Media Effects on Body Image: Examining Media Exposure in the Broader Context of the Internal and Other Social Factors” by Vonderen and Kinnally, “This mediated thin-ideal is present in mainstream media, and mainstream media are a source women turn to for information about how to look” (41). As women continuously see these advertisements of “perfect” models, insecurities arise and women feel unsatisfied with their bodies. There is a plethora of evidence to show that the mass media’s perception of perfection affect the body image of many women in society in many negative ways from eating disorders to body dissatisfaction to low self-confidence. In the article “Don’t Take another Bite: How Sociocultural Norms for Appearance Affect Women’s Eating Behavior”, the authors, Steven J. Spencer, Erin J. Strahan, and Mark P. Zanna, discuss very studies that were conducted to record the effects on women’s eating behavior when exposed to “thin” commercials. The studies concluded that “women who viewed thin commercials ate significantly less than women in each of the other conditions”’ (Spencer, Strahan, &Zanna, 336). Not only did the various studies prove that being exposed to advertisements that showed the “thin ideal” negatively effects women’s eating behavior and confidence about themselves, but it showed that ,when women became aware that these sociocultural norms were unrealistically wrong, women were not affected negatively. One study suggest that “The findings from Study 3 suggest that challenging the sociocultural norms for appearance weakened the impact of the thin commercials on women’s eating behavior” (Spencer, Strahan, &Zanna, 338). Mass Media’s portrayal of the...

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