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To what extent does the Media affect body image in teens and their perception of beauty?

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Introduction

To what extent does the Media affect body image in teens and their perception of beauty? There is no question that the Media has a massive impact on how we perceive ourselves, particularly when it comes to our beauty. From my own experience, I have questioned my own body due to articles in magazines promoting a slimmer body type to various audiences. We shape our opinions through what the Media tells us is right and wrong. For instance, women and young girls are judged highly on their weight and appearance where as men are judged more on their masculinity and muscularity.[1] As the Media is a massive topic, I will focus on looking at magazines, in particular adverts, and how they portray beauty and how we then observe the Medias idea of ?perfection?. I will also be looking at the effects of exposure to these magazines and adverts to teenagers; one particular focus will be the influences of the Media on Anorexia. ?Low self-esteem contributes to a distorted body image, and the distorted body image can't be fully corrected until self-esteem issues are reconciled.?[2] If we don?t address the problem (the problem being the Media labelling a certain body type as perfect) then the issue of low self-esteem in women is never going to stop. Over 90% of people diagnosed with eating disorders are adolescent or young women,[3] so why do young women and adolescents feel the need to go to these drastic measures to stay skinny? While the Media is not the only factor that can be contributed to the rise in Anorexia, it is a significant aspect. It?s no surprise that teenagers are obsessed with thinness and weight loss because of the way Media promotes a skinny figure to women[4] through the constant images of celebrities? bodies and also articles that talk about bettering our lives through our appearance.[5] The Media promotes a skinny figure through constant articles in magazines on celebrities? figures, for example, Star magazine has shown the same ...read more.

Middle

I wanted to see if this type of advertising really does work. I carried out this experiment twice because I wanted to make sure I had clear and thorough results. I used a group of twenty students between the ages of 14 and 16 of which ten boys and ten were girls. The boys were given adverts targeted at males and the girls were given adverts targeted at females. Half of each gender was given adverts that feature models of the same sex and the other half were given adverts that featured only the products and no models. Each person that had the same booklet was all sat on a table and they would discuss the adverts. As I was walking around, I was listening to what they were asking each other about the adverts shown to them: “What is your opinion of the advert? What is the focal point for the advert? Whom is this advert targeted at?” I was surprised by the results I got from also the comments I got from both genders. All the girls that had models advertising the perfume in their adverts wanted to lose weight, and out of the 20 girls that took part, 90% overall wanted to lose weight. A lot of the girls described the models as “plain” and that “the majority of the models were skinny and blonde.” This was a popular opinion with all the girls and I wondered why even though they thought the models looked plain and they weren’t envious of the models, why did all the girls want to lose weight? One girl gave an interesting point that even though Emporio Armani used Beyoncé Knowles, who is African-American, to advertise their products; they thought that it was unclear of her skin colour and that they might have used a black and white image so that it would open up to a wider audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, Diane Von Furstenberg claimed that ?To be a model, you have to be skinny.?[39] In conclusion, I have found that it?s clear that there are so many different opinions and that it?s hard to identify the general overview to this question without finding exceptions. I feel positive that I have found that the Media can affect teenagers and their perception of beauty but that it varies between person to person as my questionnaires have shown. However, if we are aware of the potential effects, then in theory, we can find solutions to these issues; surely that is the most important lesson we can take away from this? ________________ [1]http://scientopia.org/blogs/scicurious/2011/04/25/magazines-media-and-teen-body-image/ as accessed 13/01/2012 [2]http://www.eatingdisordershelpguide.com/self-esteem.html as accessed 28/02/2012 [3]http://www.s-cool.co.uk/a-level/psychology/psychological-abnormality/revise-it/eating-disorders as accessed 3/11/2011 [4]http://www.anorexia-reflections.com/causes-of-anorexia.html as accessed 24/11/2011 [5] See figures 1 and 2 in the appendix [6] http://www.latestbooks.org/entry/star-mag-reveals-the-best-and-the-worst-celebrity-bodies/ as accessed 15/03/2012 [7] Refer to figures 3 ? 9 in the appendix [8]http://www.something-fishy.org/cultural/themedia.php as accessed 28/11/2011 [9] Refer to figure 10 in the appendix [10] http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/news/900146/ as accessed 11/11/2011 [11] Refer to figure11 in the appendix [12] Refer to figure 12 in the appendix [13] Refer to figure 13 in the appendix [14] http://www.getmemedia.com/ideas/reach-young-women-with-glossy-weekly-fashion-and-celeb-mag-look/ipc-media-ltd.html?srch=1&m=8&dg=2&da=6&pg=1&df=&dt=&ay=0&useor=&kw as accessed 29/03/2012 [15] Refer to figures 14 and 15 in the appendix [16] Refer to figure 16 in the appendix [17] http://www.getmemedia.com/ideas/shout-the-award-winning-magazine-for-teenage-girls-aged-11-14/dc-thomson.html as accessed 27/03/2012 [18] http://www.getmemedia.com/ideas/target-the-teenage-beauty-market-in-shout-magazine/dc-thomson.html as accessed 27/03/2012 [19]Dittrich, L. ?About-Face facts on the MEDIA? as sited in: http://www.healthyplace.com/eating-disorders/articles/eating-disorders-body-image-and-advertising/as accessed 20/02/2012 [20] http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-subliminal-messages.htm as assessed 13/03/2012 [21]http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-42744547/why-fashion-advertisers-should-ignore-women-who-complain-about-skinny-models/ as accessed 13/02/2012 [22] http://www2.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/reallife/story.html?id=ca7ae3a5-04b6-4a52-a2fd-4daae6536d74 as accessed 24/03/2012 [23]http://hls.uwe.ac.uk/research/Data/Sites/1/docs/CAR/Halliwell%20-%20Impact%20of%20Advertisements.pdf as accessed 17/11/2011 [24] http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2006/11/15/thin-models.html as accessed 12/12/2011 [25] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Lagerfeld as accessed 29/03/2012 [26] http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/health/400998/karl-lagerfeld-says-people-prefer-skinny-models.html as accessed 11/03/2012 [27] Refer to figure 17 in the appendix [28] http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/health/400998/karl-lagerfeld-says-people-prefer-skinny-models.html as accessed 11/03/2012 [29]Ibid as accessed 17/11/2011 [30] Refer to figure 18-20 in the appendix [31] Refer to figures 21 and 22 in the appendix [32] ?How to love the way you look,? Teen People, October 1999 as sited in: http://www.healthyplace.com/eating-disorders/articles/eating-disorders-body-image-and-advertising/ as accessed 12/02/2012 [33]http://www.something-fishy.org/isf/mentalhealth.php as accessed 3/11/2011 [34]http://www.s-cool.co.uk/a-level/psychology/psychological-abnormality/revise-it/causes-of-eating-disorders as accessed 3/11/2011 [35]Ibid as accessed 3/11/2011 [36] http://www.mindlab.org/images/d/DOC828.pdf as accessed 22/03/2012 [37]Ibid as accessed 3/11/2011 [38]Ibid as accessed 3/11/2011 [39] http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20062689,00.html as accessed 13/03/2012 ...read more.

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