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Body Image Vs. Media

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Body Image vs. Media

Perfection is the ultimate addiction, in the eyes of the media. Body image is a problem that women and even men have been struggling with for as long as the media has been around. The media constantly puts pressure on young men and women brainwashing them into thinking that the ideal body image for women is small and slim and the ideal image for men is muscular. The media uses interesting standards to define beauty. There are different aspects to beauty that a lot of times, the media does not exhibit. For instance true beauty comes through dignity and character, not necessarily through how a person looks. Nevertheless, there is no denying that ads do affect some of us. Women and young girls all around the world are suffering from eating disorders because they are dying to have the perfect bodies, like supermodels. Flip through a few pages of a magazine and you will surly come across seductive looking models. Turning on your television you can find shows that gladly promote skinny people. Music videos are filled with scandalous women dancing seductively. There is no denying that the media does not promote healthy, realistic physical role models for young men and women.

" Perfection- It's classified in medical journals as the extreme need to be more perfect than is humanly possible. My perfection resulted in a four-decades- long struggle for sanity, starting with my childhood and zooming in on my long nights and days of model-mania". ( Janis Dickinson )

Perception of reality can easily get distorted through exposure of certain ideas. The media has only one way of thinking and one way only, and that is, the sexier the better and the thinner even more better.

"Unrealistic thin woman are often used in advertisements for everything from soft drinks to cars. Previous research has already shown that such advertising contributes to negative body images among young girls and women."( On going exposure to thin women, will only distort the meaning of a "real woman". This is the image America is selling and we're buying as a lifestyle. The way advertisers choose "advertise" the ideal body image has been in the media longer than we think. In 1958 an advertisement in Life magazine proposed the idea that weight, like acne, was a psychological issue for girls, even for those as young as 6. The parents of the overweight child were provided with expert advice about how to deal with the mockery that fat girls often received.

On the contrary, others fight to believe media does not influence men and women to look a certain way. Instead of putting the blame on media, they blame the environment one grew up in, nature and nurture. Your family and how you were raised puts a lot on a person's self esteem, and is how most of a person's self esteem is either brought up or brought down. Although companies use skinny models for imagery, it is debatable whether a person is affected by it. It all depends on how confident a person is with themselves. Another factor that has been studied upon that affects whether or not a person is influenced by an ad, is your race and gender. African Americans were demonstrated to have the higher level of body satisfaction, as compared to White and Latino women.

"Proponents of the family perspective theory observe that the family is a primary mediator of cultural norms and values. Accordingly, the extent to which the family communicates the cultural ideal to its members, and the manner in which this message is conveyed and interpreted, strongly impacts the formation of a body image" (Walsh, 1993; Keel, Heatherton, & Harnden, 1997; Haeworth-Hoettner, 2000)

The Females in comparison to males were also more likely to be affected by an ad. The media does so much work to a model's picture after he/she is done posing for an ad that it sometimes even looks like another person when finished. With that being said, however the media decides to portray a model, it should never be taken seriously.

Although your up-bringing might be the stem to negative body image; it's the medias job to present flawless models. Along with these photos of flawless models, comes unsatisfied viewers like me and you, who wonder is my body good enough? Why can't I look like THAT? In addition, the affects of the media lead to greater risks. These risks include eating disorders and depression. As females, we have to look a little deeper down and ask yourself who you really are, and be your real self. If we do not minimize the public's expectations of "true beauty", we are at risk of psychological disaster.

Young girls who look up to Supermodels strive to be just like them. It is no surprise when we see women starving themselves to perfection. If you take a glimpse on the other side of the lens, you will see a young Supermodel struggling . Janis Dickinson, the world's first supermodel, explains it all in her book "Everything About Me Is Fake, and I'm Perfect" . "It is a life of pain, drugs, barfing, and near - death experiences", Janis explains. Janis continues to say:

"As the first of my kind, I think it is my duty to tell you there is absolutely no way you can look like a supermodel in real life- unless your real life comes equipped with a stylist, a hair and makeup team, a clothing allowance, perfect lighting, and zero humidity. You must also move to a climate where it never rains, so your flat- ironed hair won't bend like it's giving you the finger". ( pg 19)

The pressure to maintain a good figure for models is quite strenuous. Their whole career revolves around maintaining not just good, but a great figure. The life of a Supermodel is depressing; it doesn't have to be though. Until the photographers of the media stop promoting unhealthy images of models, Supermodels can then live care-free.

As a key component to products being sold, photographers believe that Sex sells. In a survey that I personally conducted I asked 5 males and 5 females, whether or not erotic imagery of in-shape men/women in advertisements affected them in any way. My results proved that the women were not intrigued by the advertisement, compared to the men. The media will go as far as this to capture your attention so that you can read the words. Sex has always been a hot topic , so using sexy images of models in the eyes of the media, is a must. Soon we will come to the conclusion



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