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.