The Media And Peer Influences On Body Dissatisfaction”

2306 words - 9 pages

One day 6 year-old Taylor came home from school and asked her mother, “Mommy, why is my tummy so fat?... A girl in the bathroom at school asked me why I was fat"(Canning and Wynn 1). The article “Appearance Culture in Nine- to 12-Years-Old Girls: Media and Peer Influences on Body Dissatisfaction” by Levina Clark and Marika Tiggermann tells us that is been said that adolescence is the point when it is most likely for body dissatisfaction to arise, but a growing amount of research suggest that it may develop earlier during childhood. Many studies have shown body dissatisfaction in girls as young as six years old (628).Stephanie Hanes article, “Little Girls or Little Women? The Disney Princess Effect”, says The University of Central Florida did a poll and found the 50 percent of 3-6 year old girls worry that they are fat (482-483). The percentage of preadolescence girls who desire a thinner body size is between 28 to 55 percent. With this body dissatisfaction at a young age it can lead to dieting and related behaviors that are risk facts for chronic body image problems, weights cycling, obesity, and eating disorders. To contribute to this dissatisfaction of ones body there are many influences such as media and peers (Clark and Tiggermann 629). The way body image is portrayed in the media and influences from peers it is having a negative effect on young girls and they are are starting to have body dissatisfaction at younger ages.
In Opposing Viewpoints article “Body Image”, Carla Rice a health professional defined body image as “an individual's experiences of his/her body. It is the mental picture a person has of his/her body as well as the individual's associated thoughts, feelings, judgments, sensations, awareness, and behavior”(1). Body image is very important during teenage years when the body is changing form childish lines to more feminine curves and this can cause girls to become concerned about their weight. Studies have found the number one thing girls age nine to 12 is to have thinner body and girls a young as 5 have voiced concerns about their weight (1-2). There are many things that have been studied to see why girls have the concerns about their weight, some of these factors are the influence of media and peer influences.
Levina Clark and Marika Tiggermann did a study on how media and peer influences body dissatisfaction in 100 girls ages nine to 12. For their study, each participant filled out questionnaire about which popular magazines and TV shows they watch. The questionnaire also included 20 statements to assess the participants overall evaluation of there body. They were presented as yes or no questions and scoring ranged from 0 to 20 in direction of high body esteem. The results are for grade 4 the mean was 15.93, grade 5 14.82, grade 6 12.47, grade 7 11.52 (634). As you can see as girls get older their body esteem decreases. Another portion of question included an assessment to measure how they perceive peer body...

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