We must first prove that media advertisement is a significant instigator in creating this trend, and once this is established, show how marketers are currently developing new and innovative ways of targeting vulnerable women by means of Internet, mobile, and stealth marketing. Finally, we will explore the future of marketing women—how advertisers deliver women to profit-driven businesses who do not concern themselves with their customers’ welfare. Consequently, the issue becomes two-fold: one, it must be made evident that the advertisement media is primarily at fault for the current trend of body obsession among women. When this sentiment is clear, we will address how the constant tracking and targeting of women by specific means of Internet, mobile, and stealth marketing has and will continue to foster this craze.
As with any matter of assigning blame, psychologists and researchers cannot agree upon the source of the dissatisfaction trend. Those who cite psychological, genetic or childhood origins assert that the tendency for women to be preoccupied with unhealthy perceptions about food, fitness, and body image (as well as its outward physical outcomes expressed in the form of eating disorders) is a socialized problem instigated by factors independent of the media. Researchers and psychological social scientists Sally Driscoll and Tamara Campbell emphasize that the obsession with body image that results from low self-esteem is the product of pathological behavior (1). Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and muscle dysmorphia all result from a distorted body image that stems from an internal mental illness that is psychological in nature (2). The low self-esteem that causes this deformed perception has also often been linked to a childhood experience or instance of abuse, and this lack of nurture during childhood affects the individual’s ability to mindfully respond to outside environmental factors, such as the media (2). Childhood abuse can range anywhere from verbal belittlement regarding the body’s appearance to the enforcement of a strict dietary and exercise regimen at a young age (2). Abuse that is physical or sexual in nature also proves to be the root of such disorders in deviant cases (Ross 3). In addition, a parent’s expression of concern with his or her own weight, even in just passing comments or refusals of “bad” food at holiday dinners, can markedly influence a child’s ideas about food, fitness, and the importance of physical appearance (C. Martin 53). Current research also contends that there is a connection between genetics and eating disorders. A study performed at the Neuropsychiatric Institute of the