FINAL PAPER - 1 Unhealthy Media Over the past fifty years...

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Unhealthy Media Over the past fifty years American society has placed significant value on a flawless body image. The mass media is continuously promoting extreme dieting, weight-loss supplements, cosmetic surgery, and the supermodel figure. Young women are especially affected by the diet and fashion industry, focusing a major portion of their time, energy, and money on an effort to become unnaturally thin. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women, weighing approximately 117 pounds at a height of 5’11”. However, average American women are not usually capable of maintaining the slender physique promoted by the fashion industry and media. Despite the truth, numerous women force themselves to fulfill media’s expectations of an unrealistic body image. Consequently, some women may develop dangerous eating disorders, abuse cosmetic surgery or drugs, and suffer from immense emotional distress. The quality of our lives would greatly improve if we refuse to take the media so seriously and focus our attention to natural body acceptance. As young women move through their early adolescence, they begin reading popular teen magazines for enjoyment and the latest “Hollywood gossip”. A typical fashion magazine is full of diet tips, pictures of skinny celebrities, and cosmetics for beauty enhancement. For example, Mademoiselle’s “How Beautiful Can You Get?” describes an extreme makeover given to a model “who dieted down to one hundred pounds, had a nose job, dyed her hair, and received treatment to smooth out her hips and thighs” (Zimmerman 4). Furthermore, several studies “prove magazine reading and 1
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exposure to thin models contribute to body dissatisfaction; decreased self-esteem and confidence; and feelings of insecurity” (Vaughn 57). In addition to magazines, adolescents spend approximately 25% of their time watching television, which exposes them to characters that reinforce the concept of thinness (Vaughn 56). Over the years, television shows and movies feature actresses such as Kate Bosworth, Nicole Richie, and Keira Knightely reflecting underweight body images to American women. However, even if these actresses do seek help for their weight issues, they will always be scrutinized and judged by the media. Jill Zimmerman, a psychotherapist specializing in women’s issues, states “If they are considered fat or unfit, they’re considered unattractive which spells failure in a field overflowing with one ‘perfect’ looking woman after another” (4). For instance, Pamela Lee Anderson had a strict contract with “Baywatch” that prohibited her from gaining any weight.
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This note was uploaded on 05/02/2008 for the course BUS 360 taught by Professor Kimbrough during the Spring '08 term at N.C. State.

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FINAL PAPER - 1 Unhealthy Media Over the past fifty years...

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