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ENGLISH 101 PAPER 2

ENGLISH 101 PAPER 2 - The media has immense influence on...

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The media has immense influence on many aspects of our daily lives, from politics to the latest fashion trends. We receive opinions, whether explicitly or implicitly, from a wide variety of sources such as: television, magazines, radio, and newspapers. Through repeated exposure to this media, the public can internalize the values that are presented. Internalization is the process of acceptance of a set of norms established by people or groups which are influential to the individual (Wikipedia, 2008). One of the most prevalent and problematic value that is expressed through the media is the thin ideal, or the concept that a woman has to be slender in order to be beautiful. This concept damages the self-esteem of many individuals, and is a major cause of life- threatening eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by pathological fear of becoming fat, distorted body image, excessive dieting, and emaciation (Dictionary.com, 2008). Bulimia is described as an eating disorder characterized by uncontrolled rapid ingestion of large quantities of food over a short period of time, followed by self-induced vomiting, fasting, and other measures to prevent weight gain (Dictionary.com, 2008). These diseases affect millions of Americans yearly, and are a consequence of lowered body satisfaction brought on by the media, Hollywood, and our society’s fixation with being flawless. Images of the thin ideal are thrown at the public on a daily basis through television, film, and magazines. Marika Tiggemann argues that “mass media are probably the most powerful conveyors of sociocultural ideals” (Tiggemann, 1996) It’s hard to debate given the fact that ninety nine percent of households in the U.S. own at least one television, and Americans watch a combined two hundred and fifty billion hours of television yearly. (TV-Free America, 2007) Not to mention the millions of magazine
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subscribers and moviegoers. This vast outreach allows the media to establish social norms easily as an independent entity. It is almost impossible to avoid the overbearing presence of the thin ideal in the media. Television “present(s) women with a constant barrage of idealized images of extremely thin women” (Tiggemann, 1996) and these women are “bombarded by the message that they are not thin enough” (Polivy, 2004).
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