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Media Effects On Body Image

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Today’s society is not at all how it used to be, especially in the media. When turning on the television, looking through a magazine or newspaper, or even listening to the radio is not how it used to be. Today’s society is all about the way someone looks. The media today affect’s the way teenage girls view themselves. This can cause eating disorders, self esteem issues, or even depression.

The obsession with thinness today can lead to anorexia in teenage girls (Stern 1). Anorexia is when people are so afraid of gaining weight that they starve themselves. They have to diet all the time and they still think they are fat after the lose weight (“You Can Be Too Thin”10). For example one of my friends use to eat very little and she lost a ton of weight. She got around about eight five pounds and she still considered herself overweight. She had anorexia but she found help and now she is overcoming her battle with it.

By choosing to be anorexic, they are taking away nutrients from their body that they need to stay healthy. Symptoms of anorexia include feeling weak, getting dizzy, or even developing irregular heartbeats. Hair gets dry and falls out, teeth become rotten, bones get brittle and break easily. It increases the risk of serious illnesses like bone cancer later in life. Ten percent of people with anorexia will die from it doctors have said (“You Can Be Too Thin”10).

So why do teenage girls choose to become anorexic? Some of them feel pressure from their family or friends. This type of pressure to be skinny can create a false image where they see themselves as fat when they are not ( Papazian 1). More than a third of teenage girls view themselves as overweight (Papazian 2).

However one of the major causes of anorexia is the media. The media sets standard of beauty which is thin is in (Johnston 13). A favorite television show will most likely show young beautiful thin people. While one is watching a movie, again it will show young beautiful thin people, or while flipping through a magazine it is the same thing. When teenage girls are subjected to this all the time it is no wonder that the message they get is “thin is in” (Martin 1).

The problem with this message is that it is not reality. A study of a teen magazine showed that the articles contained statements that weight loss would improve a girl’s appearance. It also said that a reason to start exercising was to become more attractive. If that is all a teenage girl will hear and see then she will start believing it (Martin 2). No matter how hard a teenage girl exercises she will never thinks she is perfect and it will just be an endless battle.

Today’s society has a fear of becoming overweight. (Martin 3). Perfect images of celebrities are everywhere. The media sets up hopeless comparisons. Most of the images in the media are airbrushed and enhanced to be perfect. This can make a teenage girl fell insecure. The more time teenage girls spend with this type of media the worse they are going to feel about themselves. This creates an eating disorder (Menta 15).

Celebrities and models always have to look good. But they get a lot of help. They follow special diets and have personal trainers. But just because they look fit does not mean they are healthy. The extreme diets that celebrities go through can cause health injuries (Menta 16). Mary-Kate Olsen was sent to rehab for her battle with anorexia. She had gotten down to about eighty five pounds which is unhealthy for her height.

When teenage girls see these perfect images of celebrities most of them are retouched (Menta 7). All the supermodels in magazines are starting to get thinner and thinner. The average woman model weighs up to twenty five percent less than the typical woman and maintains a weight at about fifteen to twenty percent below what is considered healthy for her age and height. These body types and images are not normal and obtainable by the average individual. But these images on society make us believe they should be (Martin 3).

Diet advertisements are also a problem. On television, in magazines and newspapers we are continuously exposed to the idea that losing weight will make us happier. Most of these diets will not work but for some reason society buys into the idea that they do. Advertisers create the idea that if you lose weight your life will be good. Think of the advertisement Trim Spa Ana Nicole Smith was portrayed as unhappy when she was big but when she started Trim Spa she became thin and happy.

In Hollywood today skinny to the bone is the new thing. Teens look up to teen idols like Lindsey Lohan and Nicole Ritchie. Stars start to lose weight and get more media attention so they continue dieting. (Johnston 11). And when the stars continue dieting teenage girls continue dieting also.

A lot of teenage girls judge themselves on how women look in the media. The media influence on body images cause celebrities and teenage girls to take unhealthy measures to stay slim and fit. The media definitely cause eating disorders. It is hard to find a teenage girl who is happy with their body because of the standards that the media has set (Braunschweiger 2). But in the media stars are made to look perfect. But in reality no one looks anything like that but teenage girls think that to be happy they have to be just like the actresses they see on television.

A lot of teenage girls I see today are always comparing themselves to other celebrities, models, and singers. It seems that no one is happy with their body. From experience when someone first meets someone the first thing that goes through their mind is how they look not their personality. When I go out every girl tries their hardest to look their best to try to impress people. Most of my friends think that to have

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