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Unrealistic Expectations: What Is Our Children Are Really Learning From Advertisements?

1159 words - 5 pages

Every day your child is exposed to thousands of advertisements with messages of beauty and physical attractiveness often hidden in commercials for clothes, food, make-up and even toys. Constantly bombarded by societies ideas of beauty and what is acceptable our children are being negatively influenced by advertisements of all kinds. Body image issues, eating disorders and low self esteem are plaguing young girls and boys that feel unsatisfied with their bodies as they compare themselves with what they see on TV, magazines, and billboards. Some many argue that being exposed to these types of advertisements do not negatively affect children, but even adults struggle to try and be what ...view middle of the document...

Shockingly, these eating disorders are even being diagnosed in children as young as 6 years old. One survey reveled that 80% of fourth grade girls have been on a diet. (Shell) Some argue that there is really no proof that media causes eating disorders; it causes disordered eating which is different and includes such habits as “persistent pattern of unhealthy or overly rigid eating behavior—chronic dieting, yo-yo dieting, binge-restrict cycles, eliminating essential nutrients such as fat or carbohydrates, obsession with organic or "healthy" eating—coupled with a preoccupation with food, weight, or body shape’ (Arnold). To fairly argue back isn’t that how most eating disorders often start? About 1 in 6 girls that started dieting when they were young would develop an eating disorder.
Seemingly everywhere advertisements of all kinds are conveying the wrong ideas to society, for example this snack food advertisement for Pretzel Crisps on a bus stop, using subliminal techniques telling its audience that it is more socially acceptable to be thin then to be average. The ad is at eye level also attention-grabbing, purposely placed on a busy street corner, the words are big and bolded designed to stand out and to be easily read. “You can never be too thin” and “Tastes as good as thin feels” (“Pretzel Crisps”) implies that that people should be very thin because you will feel good and be happier that way. Being healthy will make you happier, being thin does not always mean healthy.
Society’s unrealistic images of beauty can be found in majority of advertisements. Generally airbrushed and cropped pictures of women and men with these “perfect” bodies and features can have an impact on the way children or teenagers may feel about their bodies or how they compare to these beauty standards. People with supermodel type bodies only represent about 5 percent of the population, but considering the way advertisements and television portray them it is easy to see how people may think that this is more common. Constantly seeing images of ultrathin women and extremely muscular men in everyday life many girls and boys exposed to these unrealistic standards of beauty often leads to poor body image, some become so obsessed with their appearance developing eating disorders or resorting to dangerous cosmetic surgery if they are able. (Graydon)
I came across this next advertisement when I was searching for beauty products, well to be more specific I typed in ‘what is beauty’ in the...

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