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Toxicity In The Media, A Measure Of Body Dissatisfaction

1350 words - 6 pages

In addition to promoting excessively thin models, the media also uses a disproportionate amount of digital photo retouching, especially in recent years. The use of Photoshop and digital retouching has been taken to an extreme, making models impossibly thin, tall, wrinkle and blemish free (Farid and Kee). Airbrush and digital enhancement is used to create the ideal and false female body (Russell-Mayhew and Saraceni, 91). It is quite easy to alter the appearance of a person. Legs, hips, and arms can all be slimmed. The neck can be elongated, making posture seem improved. Eye size can be increased. Skin tone and texture also fall prey to the digital retouching. The skin is smoothed and ...view middle of the document...

It has been proven that body image frustration is related to many mental issues, such as low self-esteem and restrained eating. From their attempts to look like the fake women that are portrayed in the media, real women are overconcerned with both their weight and their shape (Gianini and Smith, 48-49). The images in the media are directly related to this, creating in women a toxic body image, which leads to devastating body dissatisfaction, which then leads into harmful psychological side effects.
As a matter of fact, there is evidence that supports a greater social anxiety level in those who have a poor body image. They fear that they will be rejected in society because of the way they look in their physical appearance. People with social anxiety are uncomfortable in communal situations, given the fact that they believe their bodies to be inadequate and imperfect. “…low self-esteem is a potent risk factor for developing an overevaluation of one’s body shape, which in turn may lead to restrained eating in an attempt to achieve a more satisfactory shape and size” (Gianini and Smith, 55). The media and its toxic images are responsible for so many things. Everything can be linked back to the media. Those with social anxiety have greater body dissatisfaction, arbitrated by the media. This body dissatisfaction has been link to even greater issues, like those of eating disorders.
Further, one of these harmful psychological effects of body dissatisfaction, caused by the media is eating disorders. Eating disorders are fully mediated by unhappiness with body image. The toxic media provides this body image dissatisfaction. Those who have an eating disorder have a distorted body image and have overconcern with their weight, terrified of even the slightest weight gain. Behaviors include stark troubles in diet. Those diagnosed with anorexia regulate their food intake, decreasing it by fasting. Those who have been diagnosed with bulimia do eat, but then purge, which is vomiting, to remain the same size. In both cases, an increased amount of exercise is performed. Eating disorders are caused by severe perceptual distortions in body image (“Duty to Warn,” 4, 15). This can come from the media, from consistent, incessant, continual exposure to impossibly thin models and the feeling of never being enough. Women will do anything to “narrow the gap” between themselves and those they see in the media. Unfortunately, sometimes this does include unhealthy behaviors, such as eating disorders. However, the harmful psychological effects do not stop at eating disorders.
Another harmful psychological effect is self-injury, the deliberate harming of oneself without the intent of suicide. Self-injury behaviors include but are not limited to: cutting, scratching, and burning. People self-injure themselves to reduce mental and psychological stress. This psychological distress can come from never being thin enough to be accepted into the social norm. A lack of...

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