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

Authors Avatar by mollymoo1234 (student)
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 front cover advertising “45 best & worst beach bodies”[6] seven times.[7] I believe that this is going to contribute to women having a negative body image as they constantly compare themselves to the celebrities in these magazines and deciding whether they have an “acceptable figure” due to the ones advertised as the “best”. Personally, I think it’s the mix of women’s obsession with celebrities and a low self-esteem that creates a negative body image. Approximately one in every one hundred teenage girls may develop an Eating Disorder.[8] Body dissatisfaction is a reoccurring motif especially in women as they are constantly exposed to celebrities and advertisements from such a young age.I had to create a presentation to my peers based on my topic question earlier this year. I decided that I wanted to get real opinions on whether the content of these magazines were suitable for the magazines target audience. I gave them four popular girl magazines (Bliss, Mizz, Shout and Look), which girls ranging from 10-17+ were reading. I asked them to order the magazines from the lowest target audience to the highest, basing the order solely on the content of the magazines. Surprisingly, my peers put the magazines in the right order.However, they were still shocked by the audiences that these magazines were targeted at because the content of these magazines was not appropriate for children of that age.Bliss magazine,[9] is initially targeted at girls aged 13-17;[10] the class all said that “It was targeted at 16+ because of the ‘Stone’s style solutions’[11] that promote platform heels which aren’t appropriate for girls of 13 years.” Furthermore, Bliss magazine shows an article on ‘Pamper perfect’[12] showing young girls how to get the A-list look ‘without the A-list price tag.’ My peers decided that Bliss magazine is subtlety influencing young girls on how they can better themselves where as Look magazine[13], which is targeted at girls from 16-34;[14] manipulate girls into changing their body to better themselves. This shows the diversity between magazines that are targeted at girls below 16 and those targeted at girls above 16. In both Bliss and Look magazine, they use a very slim model to advertise their clothes. Even though Bliss uses a teenage model and Look uses an adult, they both use a particular frame of woman.[15] Mizz magazines’[16] target audience is from 10-14 years. Mizz’ articles, in my opinion, are suitable for the
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target audience because they don’t focus on celebrity lifestyle and focusing on a negative body image. Shout magazines’ seems to focus on females between 10-15 years.[17]However, Shout magazine, targeted at females between the ages of 11-14,[18] shows little articles involving models and looks more at celebrities and real life stories.As we live in a society, which is more obsessed with how we look, rather than what we do, it’s no wonder that women are both mentally and physically abused by the Media.This is a gut feeling of mine based on the content of magazines. From my own opinion, I see ...

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