Media & Body Image - 1 Lizzie Guerra Professor Holmes...

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Lizzie Guerra Professor Holmes Written and Oral Communication December 7, 2007 The Media and Body Image It is Friday afternoon and I have nothing to do so I pick up the remote and flip mindlessly through the channels. Channel 17: America’s Next Top Model (a personal favorite). Channel 31: What Not to Wear (another great show). Channel 35: The Real House wives of Orange County (addicting). I am faced with quite the decision, should I watch a show about beautiful thin girls competing to make it in the brutal fashion industry, one that degrades self-esteem by humiliating people into dressing fashionably, or one that focuses on the extremely superficial lives of bleach blonde- haired, breast augmented, Botox injected, “tanorexic,” forty year old women? I choose the latter. The media has greatly affected the way we view our bodies. It glorifies a tall, thin, toned, free-of-unwanted-hair-and-wrinkles image of perfection. It emphasizes an ideal image that is almost entirely impossible to obtain and then it replicates that image so it can be seen everywhere—magazines, billboard, TV shows and ads—we are surrounded! One would have to live under a rock to escape the social pressures that the media subjects us to. Likewise, you would think that with all of these negative images we see in our everyday life that we would strive to evade them, yet somehow the human psyche does the exact opposite. We construct in our minds an 1
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image of beauty that is entirely skewed to what we are told is beautiful. We have become brainwashed by media propaganda, and this is why I feel that it is of increasing importance for people to be educated on the ills of the media. Furthermore, we need to put pressure on the media to change their image of perfection to one that is healthy and easily obtainable by people of all shapes and sizes. We live in a self-obsessed society; one in which we must compete for perfection. Who has the nicer car or the bigger house has translated into who has the flattest abs or the perkiest breasts. As human beings we are constantly comparing ourselves with others. It doesn’t help that the media puts out an onslaught of messages concerning the image of perfection (Media Awareness Network). The average model nowadays is 5’10” and 110 pounds whereas the average woman is 5’4” and 140 pounds (Peel Public Health). When the average woman compares herself to that of the average model, we start to see unhealthy habits surface (Tiggemann). There have been many studies of adolescent females and their body image. According to a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 40% of girls, ages 9-19 years old have tried to lose weight. In addition approximately 53% of American girls are unhappy with their bodies. This number grows to 78% by the time they reach seventeen. In another study teens that watched soaps and TV shows that emphasized the ideal body type reported a higher sense of body dissatisfaction. This was also true for girls who watched music videos. Likewise, reading magazines for
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course RC 131 taught by Professor Holmes during the Spring '08 term at University of San Francisco.

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Media & Body Image - 1 Lizzie Guerra Professor Holmes...

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