30 April 2013
The Media and Men
Have you ever wanted a body like the models on T.V.? Have those images ever made you feel self-conscious about yourself? If so, then the media has done its job. From advertisements to magazines, the media uses digitally altered photographs of both men and women to purposely manipulate the emotions of its audience. More often than not the media has a negative effect on the mental and physical health of all age groups and genders.
The media perpetuates a common myth of the perfect physique, often selling such perfection as the social norm. Women and men alike feed off such false idolization, which in turn propagates the Medias multi-billion dollar industry. Although typically women are seen as the victims of such peer pressure, men are also a casualty of media influence. Such sexual stereotypes have early beginnings in the lives of men. As children they learn what being a man means from family, and friends. And from these approved behaviors is the focus and support of media messages. Strength, bravery, and courage are all masculine attributes commonly influenced by the media. Images of strong, athletic Nike Men and Military ads send strong messages to emotionally unstable teen age boys and fully grown men alike. This degree of influence discourages men from attaining positive customs that are claimed to be “unmanly”. Traits such as fear, hurt, confusion, or despair are considered unacceptable among men. This form of mediated pressure causes tons of emotional distress amongst men of all age groups. Such a degree of emotional control often results in heavy drug abuse, teen suicide, and eating disorders.
The most commonly known drug used by young athletic men is Anabolic steroids. These are drugs that replicate human sex hormones such as testosterone to enhance and change ones bodily configuration. They are an illegal substance often abused by athletes, and heavy duty power lifters to increase one’s performance in the field of play. However in the past decade steroid use among teen boys has actually decreased significantly. “In 2005, 4 percent of high school seniors admitted to trying steroids. However, only 1.8 percent had experimented with them in 2012” (11). Most Steroid abuse cases are directly linked to media influenced messages, and values. The media uses highly fit young men to sell and advertise products for companies such as Nike, Calvin Klein, and Gucci. Men commonly resort to any option for help in achieving the perfect body, despite its impracticality. Common side effects of Anabolic Steroids are irritability, mood swings; manic behavior, and poor judgment. Men also typically suffer from breast growth, hair loss, and increased risk of testicular cancer. Improper use of steroids can also lead to stunted growth, kidney failure, liver damage, heart attack and even stroke. Steroids are similar to that of any other drug, they are highly addictive and often the rewards are not worth the consequence.
Eating disorders are another common method men use to lose weight and look fit. Women are typically associated with eating disorders, however new research suggests that eating disorders are becoming more prevalent in young men. An estimated 8 million people in the United States alone suffer from some form of eating disorder; of that 8 million 10% are men. Eating disorders range in a rather wide spectrum. Probably the most common eating disorder is Anorexia Nervosa, which is a severe disorder in which a person is intensely afraid to gain weight, and exhibits an extremely distorted perception of their body image, size, and weight. People suffering from this disorder often exhibit behaviors such as excessive dieting, food rituals, excessive weight lifting, distortion of body size, and disgust with body size or shape. Emotional stress such as depression, social isolation, and irritability are also linked to Anorexia. Other disorders such as binge eating