The Media's Affect On Body Image

2612 words - 11 pages

The body is a powerful tool - it shows us who we are and who we want to be. Images of the body are just as powerful. The media uses bodies to sell anything from cars to food. While this media tool is very successful, it has a downside in today’s world, and is often very negative toward peoples bodies. Simply stand in a queue at a shopping centre and you will find yourself surrounded by magazines advertising weight loss plans, fashion, and the best diet to take. The media uses this tool to it’s advantage - the promise of a good life lies with those who have a great body. If you are skinny, tall, and have perfect skin, you’re guaranteed to have a good career, a successful marriage, perfect kids, and the best furniture. Often times, people find themselves striving for the perfect body image which is virtually unattainable. The media has found many ways to implement this ‘perfect’ image, most commonly, photoshop. Often times the image we see on the magazine has been trimmed and toned, and the person on the cover doesn’t look like that in real life. Social media has created negative pressure that can affect people’s body image, self esteem, and, physical and mental health.
We all have a perception of ourself - what we are, and what we want to be. These are often guided and influenced by social media. In an article by R. Kay Green, CEO and president of RKG Marketing Solutions states that we have a ‘real self’ (who we are) and an ‘ideal self’ (who we want to be), and what these two selves become when we go onto the internet. “Consider the fact that on social media sites, we consider our profiles to be presentations of who we are. Therefore, through interaction with the social medium, the real and ideal selves intersect; and the ideal self is at least partially actualized. In essence, our online selves represent our ideals and eliminate many of our other real components.” R. Kay Green is stating the fact that generally, when involved with the media, you act as though you are someone different, and therefore, make yourself appear to be someone different - this works both ways. We see ‘ideal selfs’ on the television, so when we log into Facebook, or Twitter, we too create ‘ideal selfs’. If we look at media creating negative self-esteem, the main demographic it effects is women aged about 14-18. Girl Guiding, an organization created for promoting girl’s voices and opinions to be heard conducted a survey, called the Girl’s Attitude Survey. This survey included girls from 11- 21. In 2009, 36% of girls from 11-16 were unhappy with their looks. 1 in 6 girls said they were worried they would develop an eating disorder. They asked girls from 10-21 what aspect they would like to change about themselves. 33% of girls 16-21 wanted to be thinner, compared to 17% of girls 11-13. 66% of girls 16-21 have watched what they were eating, or cut down on their diet. In 2013, 87% of girls from 11-21 thought they were judged more on their appearance and looks than their...

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