In recent years, sociologists, psychologists, and medical experts have gone to great lengths about the growing problem of body image. This literature review examines the sociological impact of media-induced body image on women, specifically women under the age of 18. Although most individuals make light of the ideal body image most will agree that today’s pop-culture is inherently hurting the youth by representing false images and unhealthy habits. The paper compares the media-induced ideal body image with significant role models of today’s youth and the surrounding historical icons of pop-culture while exploring various sociological perspectives surrounding this issue.
Society and Body Image
If you worship money and things- if they are where you tap real meaning in life-
then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth.
Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel
ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already- it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, parables: the skeleton of every great story. (Foster, 2005)
Body image is the perception, both thoughts, and feelings concerning an individual’s physical appearance. Research has suggested that exposure to an ideal standard of what it may mean to be beautiful is the norm for the media to expose a woman to. The results of an idea of feminine beauty can be disastrous for women, leading to depression, and an unrealistic body image. According to Posavac & Posavac in the article titled Reducing the Impact of Media Images on Women at Risk for Body Image Disturbance: Three Targeted Interventions, “Body Image Disturbance is prevalent among women in Western Society” (p.325). Todd Heatherton and Michelle Hebl note in Body Image that “There is an ideal that the typical model is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weights approximately 100 pounds, which is 7 inches taller and 30 pounds lighter than the average woman in our county. This portrayal of an ideal that is 20% below the average creates and reinforces the stigma of the large body size.” Our society is obsessed with our bodies; we look to the media to tell us what is wrong with ourselves even though there may be nothing, in all actuality, wrong. As women, we are constantly barraged with unattainable and less than healthy portrayals of what is considered beautiful. This paper will consider the following questions:
1. What is body image dissatisfaction and who is at risk?
2. How does advertising and media impact a woman’s idea of body image?
3. What are the sociological perspectives and impacts from the effects of media on women?
Understanding the psychological and sociological impact of the media on the youth today may help us to understand the true causes of such vast amounts of body image dissatisfaction in the United States and will underscore the need for...