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Future Generation Philippine International School

Senior High School Female Section

Academic Year 2017-2018

Grade 12 STEM

MASS MEDIA AS A TOXIC


MIRROR

Name: Rachelle Danya M. Dela Rosa

Score:

Parents Signature:
Mass Media as a Toxic Mirror

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Ideal Body Image of Women
1.2 Background for the concept of Body Image
1.3 Thesis statement: Mass media play an outsized role about the aesthetics of body
image among women which influence body dissatisfaction, socio-cultural values and
body perception.
2.0 Body
2.1 Body Dissatisfaction among Women
2.1.1 Medias Portrayal of Women
2.1.2 Thin Idealized Image in the Media
2.1.3 Female Adolescents
2.2 Media as a influencing factor of Socio-cultural values
2.2.1 Female Body as a Subject to Objectification
2.2.2 Cultural beliefs concerning Body Image
2.3 Self - Esteem
2.3.1 Relation of Body Image to Self - Esteem
3.0 Conclusion
3.1 Media manipulates Body Image among Women
Mass Media as a Toxic Mirror

All teens are concerned about how they look. They want to be attractive and they want to fit in
with others. Meeting societys standards for looking good is not always easy, especially for girls.
Girls are judged by their appearance more than boys, and the standards are high (Enotes, 2010).
Physical attractiveness in females is based on pretty features, a good complexion, nice hair, and a
well-proportioned body. Today, however, well-proportioned is popularly interpreted as thin.
As a result, many teenage girls are unhappy with their bodies. This is especially true of those who,
because of pressures or problems in their own lives, become fixated on body image as a way of
achieving success or happiness (Enotes, 2010).

Mass media play an outsized role about the aesthetics of body image among women which
influence body dissatisfaction, socio-cultural values and self-esteem. The study of ones body
image has been conducted for several times and many contemporary researchers deem the
complexity of the field, since body image can refer to a variety of concepts from judgments about
weight, size appearance and normality, to satisfaction with these areas. Presently, in society,
images of unattainable body ideals fill magazines, TV advertisements, movies and social media
sites, and these images generally reflect those of the thin idealized women.

Body Dissatisfaction among Women

Why is it that so many girls and young women are dissatisfied with their bodies, regardless of their
size? Among the many forces believed to play a role is the increasingly thin ideal dominating the
media. Across movies, magazines, and television programs, thinness is consistently emphasized
and rewarded for women, and thin television characters are overrepresented while overweight
characters are underrepresented. Indeed, the images of women presented in the media today are
thinner than past media images of women, thinner than the actual female population, and often
thinner than the criteria for anorexia. Due to the mass medias vast extension throughout society,
it has become a powerful and influential transmitter of the idealized body image for females.
Women begin to internalize these views and begin to view their own body as a thing rather than a
being which, in turn, leads to an increase in body dissatisfaction. The idea of body dissatisfaction
is truly becoming more of a societal norm in which this consent self-surveillance and
objectification produces many negative effects in women. An increase in body dissatisfaction
emerges from the thinking that the thin idealized image in the media is something that needs to be
strived towards.

It is also evident that female adolescents are the most susceptible to other influences for several
reasons. One reason is that as a society we have learned to compare ourselves to other individuals,
especially during adolescence because the body is beginning to develop physically. When females
compare themselves with other females, and their body shapes are not the ideal shapes, they then
begin to agonize about their bodies. Adolescent girls, as well as college women, are most affected
by poor body image since young women are exposed to all types of influences, like brands and
products, to create the ideal image that the media portrays as acceptable.

Media as an influencing factor of Socio-cultural values

The media is a conveyor of socio-cultural values regarding ideal body shape and size, which
creates an understanding of the ideal man and woman (McCabe, Butler & Watt, 2007). In our
society, media has become the most important and influential factor of our culture. It can shape
trends and ideas used as a tool of politicians, activists, and advertisers. People typically trust the
media which makes it an extremely influential factor in an adolescent females lifestyle. This
often makes them the most targeted group by advertisers. Women begin to become outside
observers of their own body and begin self-objectification. They begin to believe that their body
belongs less to themselves and that it is public domain and open for evaluation and criticism.
Through the portrayal of media to a womans body, it is often that the female body becomes
somewhat of an object that is examined and evaluated or something that exists to be looked at.

Cultural beliefs also impact body image among women. Cultural prejudice is in favor of slender
body shape, and against overweight. Slenderness is generally seen as the normal body shape to
aspire towards, and it is associated with happiness, success and youthfulness and social
acceptability. Being overweight is linked to laziness, lack of will power and being out of control.
Overweight is seen as physically unattractive and is also associated with other characteristics
(Grogan, 1998). There is therefore prejudice against abnormal body shape.
Media has increasingly become a platform that reinforces cultural beliefs and projects strong views
on how we should look, that we as individuals often unknowingly or knowingly validate and
perpetuate. The more we look at perfect images of others and then look to find those same idealized
characteristics in ourselves and dont find them, the worse we feel about ourselves. Its a cycle that
breeds discontent. With such strong societal scrutiny its easy to see how the focus on how we
look can slide into the dark side negative body image. Females ought to be aware of how most
mass marketing and consumerism manipulates the people to make us feel badly of ourselves. We
are encouraged to lie to ourselves about our true value because the worse we feel, the more we will
buy. For after convincing us that we are less than ideal, the media will offer us endless products
that claim to fix our prescribed faults. For example, if marketers convince us that we are not good-
looking enough and then offer us products to fix our flawed appearancemake-up, anti-
aging products, dieting aids, hair growth serums, plastic surgerywe are more likely to buy them.

Self - Esteem

Self-esteem is so intrinsically linked to thoughts about one's body that physical appearance has
consistently been found to be the number one predictor of self-esteem at many ages (Ata, Ludden,
& Lally, 2006). Body image is the most dominant factor in determining an adolescents feeling of
self-worth. Body image is related to self-esteem, sexuality, family relationships and identity. It has
also been defined as the internal representation of your own outer appearance; your own unique
perception of your body. Rosenberg (1965) defined self-esteem as the positive or negative attitude
toward the self which is the key indicator of self-worth. Previous research (Clay, Vignoles, &
Dittmar, 2005) showed that the continuous decline of self-esteem among women was due to the
focus of media on thin body model. Thus, being exposed to the ideal thin body will decrease the
individuals level of self-worth and satisfaction. Moreover, people in all ages can be affected by
the mass media effect which can lead to low self-esteem.

Conclusion

Media has turned the body into a symbol of status and success (Strasburger, 1995). Mass media
play an outsized role about the aesthetics of body image among women which influence body
dissatisfaction, socio-cultural values and self-esteem. Looking thin has become the socio-cultural
norm among adolescent girls; being thin is in and if you are not thin you are out of trend. There
are many influences that come from the media, especially from advertisers and celebrities, who
portray the perfect fantasy lifestyle and body-type. Ultimately, these images and messages can
confuse women especially younger adolescent girls. The media manipulates the portrayal of body
image which tell women who or what to be, when that is not necessarily who they want to be.
There are many emotional and physical obstacles that adolescent girls must overcome in order to
feel accepted into society. Media often glorifies the slender and the beautiful and that mentality
is supported by advertisers and our culture. In turn, it becomes harder for adolescents to understand
that intelligence and personality can get you far in life and that looks will only get you so far.
Bibliography

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Enotes. (August 21, 2017). Teen eating disorders. Retrieved from http://www.enotes.com/teen-
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