Ap lang and comp
April 8, 2014
Media and How it Effects Self-perception
Today we are are seeing more and more people find ways to criticize themselves and others, and physical appearance plays more of a role in our society than any of us would like to admit. Everyone has their own opinion of what the root of these issues are. Some think it is genetics, peers, environmental etc.
However if you look at the only thing that has grown along with these physical standards it is the media.
There have been countless studies such as surveys done to dig into this problem, and they have all shown that media has the largest impact above anything else.
Even though media effects all ages we can really see it effecting adolescents. In a study conducted by the national institute of teen health and the media it is said that there really is an obvious relationship between the media and young girls. 58% of woman in movies comment of the way they look, and that 37% of magazines are about bettering your appearance(source a). With these types of thought being put into adolescents mind it makes sense that our percentages of eating disorders match. 24 million people struggle with eating disorders today(source b) and 95% of those people are from the ages 10-25
(source b). Some people will make the argument that media isn't having an impact at all on any of these disorders because you have the choice to let it impact you, also people will say if we just educated people better we would not have a problem. The fact is we have to face though is that it is impacting people, and we aren't educating.
The average american woman is 5’4 and 164 pounds (source d). The average for Miss America is
5’7 and 121 pounds. From a very young age girls are seeing that if they are pretty enough they will have all these opportunities , and be happy. If we are having young girls hold this true this young, the media will only impact them more and more as they get older. Media is there and will always be. Even though it may be subconscious it is impacting how you look at yourself and others. More studies, and surveys show 78% percent of girls feel pressure to lose weight by age 17. Researchers also found with a study of
5th grade girls that when they watched a music video it made them more self conscious. It also talked about what kind of content we are seeing in our media. Which is very focused on looks, and can be incredibly shallow.
Media not only impacts the way we see. We are subconsciously judging people all the time by their appearance. A study done showed that tall people get paid more yearly, woman who where makeup or have blonde hair are more likely to get hired(source c). Interestingly enough all these traits are things that are idealized by the media. How you dress or present yourself allows people to make judgment about who you are. A man was telling a story about how he showed up one day for lunch with a friend who was dressed very well. He mentioned it to his friend and the response he received was a sarcastic “I guess I just take our friendship more serious than you!” In that situation we can see that someone could say that is an example of peers making you self conscious, but where do people get these standards to judge others by? It is what we see in magazines, movies, etc.. (source b). Media puts standards in our minds of what people should look like, and people listen to that, And whether its your peers telling you something or something else it is all being idealized from the media.
Forbes magazine tells about physical appearance and its place in our society. It explains how it makes more opportunities available to people, and why so many people feel pressured to fit the standards of what beauty is. Whether its right or not it argues that your physical appearance does matter, and people should care about it. It makes the claim that it is the first thing people will make judgment on. The relationship with the media and