Conclusion and Citations

It is vital that women recognize the narrowness of the ideal body that is portrayed in the media. If it is not recognized, than it can subconsciously manifest in a woman’s mind until she is filled with low self-esteem and negative body image issues. The most effective way to prevent this low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction is by learning from a young age that the media is not an accurate representation of women. Strong, confident female role models are also vital to preventing low self-esteem in young girls. The media has been somewhat responsible for lowering millions of women’s self-confidence and it can be linked to self-hate and eating disorders. If women work more towards empowering other women and themselves instead of focusing on beauty and looks, the media would have less of a hold on them and their young girls. Media literacy is a key factor in determining self-esteem and preventing things like eating disorders. Surrounding oneself with women who love themselves and pay no mind to the media’s idea of beauty can also be helpful.

Not liking yourself is such a painful experience but something as simple as empowering one another can boost self-esteem. Watch this video and give complimenting someone a try! “What It’s Like to Not Love Your Body”- Buzzfeed

Citations

Armstrong, S. (n.d.). Statistics on body image, self-esteem and parental influence. Retrieved from http://www.heartofleadership.org/statistics-on-body-image-self-esteem-parental-influence/

Aroyyo, A., & Anderson, K. K. (2016). Appearance-Related Communication and Body Image Outcomes: Fat Talk and Old Talk Among Mothers and Daughters.Journal of Family Communication, 16(2), 95-110.

Contributing factors and prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/contributing-factors-prevention

Girls self-esteem. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.dove.us/Our-Mission/Girls-Self-Esteem/default.aspx?gclid=CJHc8-uazMwCFQYNaQodVKYGlQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

Harrison, K., & Hefner, V. (2014). Virtually Perfect: Image Retouching and Adolescent Body Image. Media Psychology.

Hogan, M., & Strasburger, V. (2008). Body image, eating disorders and the media. Adolescent Medicine, 521-546.

Johnson, S. (2014, September 29). New research sheds light on daily ad exposures. Retrieved from https://sjinsights.net/2014/09/29/new-research-sheds-light-on-daily-ad-exposures/

Kite, L., & Kite, L. (2015, June 28). Invisible women over 40: Anti-aging and symbolic annihilation. Retrieved from http://www.beautyredefined.net/anti-aging-and-symbolic-annihilation/

Lenhart, A. (2015, April 9). Teens, social media and technology overview. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/

Rodgers, R., McLean, S., & Paxton, S. (2015). Longitudinal relationships among internalization of the media ideal, peer social comparison and body dissatisfaction: Implications of the tripartite influence model.Developmental Psychology, 51(5), 706-713.

Social networking fact sheet. (2013, December 27). Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/

Stice, E., Spangler, D., & Agras, W. (2001). Exposure to media portrayed thin-ideal images adversely affects vulnerable girls: A longitudinal experiment. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 20(3), 270-288.

Ura, M., & Preston, K. S. (2015). The Influence of Thin-Ideal Internalization on Women’s Body Image, Self-esteem, and Appearance Avoidance: Covariance Structure Analysis. American Communication Journal, 17(2), 15-26.

Veldhuis, J., Konijn, E. A., & Seidell, J. C. (2014). Counteracting Media’s Thin-Body Ideal for Adolescent Girls: Informing Is More Effective Than Warning. Media Psychology, 17(2), 154-184.

Eating Disorders in Young Women Blog 4

no body is perfect

Eating disorders in this country are on the fast rise, especially for young, vulnerable women and many people are rightfully giving some of the blame to the media. The media’s narrow depiction of beauty may have something to do with that. Women have been shown images of ideal beauty from the media for many years. The media teaches women that these beauty ideals are the only acceptable way to look, so women of a healthy weight might be prone to say things like “ I look fat in this outfit” or “ I hate my love handles” just because they do not resemble the stick thin models in the media. According to a study done in the Adolescent Medicine journal, “Historically, there has been an association between advertising and disordered body image and disordered eating. Interestingly, as advertisements for diet-food products increased on television between 1973 and 1991, a rise in eating disorders occurred as well. Similarly, studies have revealed that the increase in thin models and actresses from 1910 to 1930 and 1950 to 1980 was accompanied by an increase in disordered eating”(Hogan and Strasburger 2008).

Young girls are extremely influenced by their mothers and the negative things that they say about themselves will make their daughters feel like they should not like the way that they look either. According to the National Eating Disorders website, eating disorders can potentially be prevented “by spreading awareness, modeling healthy self-esteem, and demonstrating media literacy”. This prevention starts with mothers because they are often times the most influential person in a young woman’s life.

If a daughter constantly hears her mother saying “my face is so wrinkly” or “I can’t wear this dress because I need to lose weight” then she is more likely to develop this negative body talk and see herself as less beautiful. Moms need to speak more positively about themselves and their features so that daughters are more likely to inherit this positive body talk and potentially prevent future self-esteem issues or an eating disorder. Another thing that mothers can do to help prevent eating disorders or even self-esteem issues in their daughters is to be media literate and teach that to their daughters. If a mother knows that the media’s representation of beauty is very narrow and only represents a small portion of the female population then she can help her daughter to see the same thing. If moms watch a commercial, for example, with their daughter that has a very thin, tall model, she can let her daughter know that this model has genetics that make her have that body type and only a small portion of women have those genes. The less represented, average female body type is just as beautiful as those thin models that are represented constantly. Media literacy also now has to be taught with social media. Young women are now seeing Instagram models that are seemingly normal girls and wonder why they don’t look like that since the model is “normal” and only famous because of how naturally pretty she is on social media. Mothers have a responsibility to ensure that these young women know that those images are oftentimes photo-shopped and edited and 100 pictures were taken before the right one was picked. If mothers know how to protect their daughters from the narrow minded beauty ideals of society, then they might be able to help slow down the epidemic of eating disorders among young women.

For anyone who is passionate about protecting our society’s women and preventing eating disorders among them, here is the link to get involved with The National Eating Disorder Awareness Organization. They work to help people recover from eating disorders and make people feel beautiful in their own skin. National Eating Disorders Awareness

Media’s Effects on Young Girls Blog 3

vogue

While body image issues are present in women of all ages, they are an especially growing problem among young girls and young women. The media’s narrow beauty ideal is beginning to reach girls of younger and younger ages as the media becomes increasingly present in our society. When girls are constantly bombarded with advertisements and media messages on a daily basis and are more frequently using social media platforms they are likely to absorb the media’s beauty standards and compare themselves to those standards. The younger girls are, the more vulnerable they are to the messages around them. If they are constantly hearing things like “ do these jeans make me look fat” or “I wish I could look like that model” they are going to start imitating these behaviors.

Young girls can be receiving the same pressures to look beautiful and be thin that older women deal with, but the vulnerability of young girls allows them to be more affected by the internalization of the thin- ideal portrayed in the media. According to a study done in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, adolescent girls who already had somewhat internalized the thin-ideal and were given a 15 month subscription to a fashion magazine showed more dissatisfaction toward their bodies afterward. The constant exposure to these extremely skinny models lead the girls to believe that they should look like this and their idea of what average body features look like was distorted.

Dove released a startling statistic that only 11% of girls ages 10-17 would feel comfortable describing themselves as beautiful. This number is really discouraging when one thinks about youth. Youth is a time to be carefree, creative and happy without the stresses of adult life. How can a young girl feel carefree and creative if she feels tremendous pressure from society to conform to an ideal that is unreachable? If a young girl is under these pressures, it is hard to believe that she is happy. Most mothers and women in a young girls life want nothing more than for her to be happy and grow up to be a strong, confident woman. In order to ensure this happy future for a young girl, mothers and mother figures in a girl’s life are responsible for teaching her to acknowledge media’s messages and learn to disregard them. It is also her responsibility to bestow confidence on said young girl from a young age and to stop any negative self-body talk in front of her. By stopping this negative talk, she will in turn help not only her daughter’s confidence, but her own. Unfortunately, in today’s society, self-love must be taught, so help teach these young women the most important lesson of all: love yourself.

The Media’s Effects on Women Over 40 Blog 2

Many women today have grown up with constant pressures from society telling them to be beautiful, thin and perfect. These pressures can come from many different places, including family, friends, peers, and possibly the most influential and constant pressure of them all: the media. All of these pressures can add up to a lot of self-hate and negative body image. When a woman is constantly told from many different sources that she needs to be thinner, have bigger breasts, wear more or less makeup or even alter her face to prevent natural aging, she starts to believe these pressures and tries to conform to them. She may try dangerous dieting methods, such as pills, she may get breast implants, spend hundreds of dollars on makeup and she may try plastic surgery. Growing up in a society where looks are everything and women over 40 tend to be regarded as “old” and less worthy can create a hostile attitude toward the natural process of aging. Aging should be a beautiful thing but women often do everything in their power to prevent this process from happing, including dying the gray out of her hair or getting Botox.

The older women get the less valuable they may feel towards society because the media features mostly young women. According to beautyredefined.net, 62 percent of the female population in America is older than 40, but the media shows older men 10 times more than they show older women. Beauty Redefined also had a graph that showed Liam Neeson’s love interest’s ages in movies while he aged. As he aged, his love interests seemed to get younger, despite the fact that there are plenty of female actors over 40 that could play his age appropriate love interest.Liam Neeson.png

photo source:  Vulture.com

Women over 40 need to understand that aging is natural, they do not become invisible to society with age, and they are important without Botox and hair dye. Although it is easier said than done, changing one’s mentality about their body is possible. Companies like Dove are dedicated to showing women their worth and beauty despite the media’s narrow representation of beauty. While there are ways to change how women think about their bodies, it would be easier to teach positive body love to girls of a young age and prevent dissatisfaction from the start. It is so important that women love their bodies so they can teach the young girls in their life to do the same.

Social Media’s Effects on Body Image Blog 1

A form of media that is becoming increasingly more popular each year is social media. These online platforms allow people of all backgrounds and ages to interact with one another all around the world and according to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 74% of all American adult Internet users interact with social media sites. Another Pew Research Center study claims that 71% of all American teens with a mobile device use one or more social media sites on a daily basis. This is an extremely large portion of the American population that uses these social platforms so it is important that people are informed of the dangers that can come along with using these sites.

Social media can be especially harmful to one’s self-esteem. A research study was conducted with 7th grade girls to relate media-internalization of the thin ideal to social appearance comparison and eventually, to body dissatisfaction. The results found that media-internalization leads to comparison which then leads to body dissatisfaction (McLean, Paxton, 2015). If girls or women are already influenced by media’s ideal body image then social media platforms give them more people to compare themselves to. If people that girls or women see on social media look like the models that they see in magazines or on TV, this can be very harmful. Since anyone can use social media, it can feel like everyone on social media is an average, everyday person. If the “normal” people that women see on social media all look like models, then they are more likely to think “if that woman I saw on social media is normal and looks like that, why don’t I look like that?”. Social comparison can take a huge toll on one’s self esteem. If a woman compares herself to someone that she sees as an average person, but in reality that person is actually a paid model planted in the middle of a social platform, than the woman will begin to think less of herself for not being like that model. If young girls are constantly looking at bikini models on Instagram, they might begin to think, “if I lose ten pounds, then I can be like her and make a living off of wearing a bikini”. These girls might not know that extensive photo-shopping and editing went into the photo and that 100 photos were taken to get the right shot. It is important that the older women in their lives can recognize the fake, superficial aspects of social media and pass this knowledge on to young girls.

Body Image and the Media Introduction

body image

When you look in the mirror what do you see? Are you proud of your body? Do you think you are naturally beautiful? Unfortunately, more and more women are stating that they are not happy with their bodies and that they would not consider themselves beautiful. Negative body image is an increasingly prominent issue today because of the media. As the media becomes more omnipresent in people’s daily lives, they are bombarded with images of the ideal beauty standards for females that the media created. This is not only an issue that grown women have to deal with, but girls are starting to be greatly effected by these images as well. Younger and younger women are influenced by the media’s beauty ideals. According to Heart of Leadership, “more than 90 percent of girls- 15 to 17 years old- want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest”. Women are basing their self-worth off of their looks because the media teaches women that looks are the most important thing. The media shows unrealistic beauty ideals for women to emulate and when they see thin models and women aging perfectly they begin to compare themselves to these ideals. This is when the social comparison theory begins to become a problem. When women compare themselves to the unachievable beauty standards that the media offers, their self-esteem lowers because they cannot look like a certain super model.

If people can begin to understand that the images of women portrayed on television or in magazines are unrealistic and often times very photo-shopped, then it would be easier to prevent things such as negative body image and eating disorders. According to SJInsights.com the average person can see upwards of 5,000 advertisements a day (Johnson, 2014). Many of these will feature a beautiful woman or model. If women are exposed to that many advertisements that are telling them what beautiful looks like, there is a large chance that they will start to believe that they need to look like these models to be successful. In order for women to live up to their potential, it is necessary that they start realizing that these models and women portrayed in the media only represent a very small portion of the female population. Only then can they see their value to society as more than just a body or face for people to stare at. When women learn this, they can then pass these positive messages down to their daughters and loved ones and can prevent body image issues in the younger generations as well. This blog will address the body image problems that different forms of media can create and it will offer some solutions and tips in order to boost self-esteem within girls and women.