January 19th 2015
The rationale of this experiment is to study the effect media has on a female’s body image and self-esteem. “Popular media barrages women with images that portray what is considered to be the ‘ideal body’” (Serdar, 2014, para.7). Society tells women what kind of body image they should strive for. The media portrays the ideal body as accentuating features such as eyes, breasts, bottom and legs. This image is based of the look of an average fashion model that is 5’10” and weighing around one hundred twenty pounds. These features do not apply to the average day women when in fact the average Canadian woman is only 5’4” and weighs about one hundred seventy pounds (Linken, 2009, para.3). These ideas are pressured upon women of all ages through every source of media. Television, bill boards, newspaper, radio, magazines etc. are all guilty of applying such pressures to females.
Media is also guilty of creating a “cult of thinness” known as cutting girls down to size, infantilizing so grown women appear as children and objectifying women by turning them into objects, cutting out body parts and attaching them to objects in ads. It’s important to understand that the ideal body image that is presented by the popular media is not healthy or realistic. Should a female actually achieve this body image or weight, she would be classified as underweight. Risks associated with being underweight include anemia, nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, cardiac problems, increased susceptibility to illness and infection and poor wound healing (Linken, 2009, para.6). Furthermore, the media’s effect on the self-esteem of young girls has resulted in deadly damaging conditions such as eating disorders (binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia nervosa), mental depression and physical depression (Von Schlegel, 2012, para.2). Most women that suffer from such eating disorders usually have disordered body image and strive constantly for the media’s idea of perfection. “Eating disorders typically begin in adolescence or young adulthood and affect women ten times more than men” (Statistics Canada, 2013, para.1). By conducting this experiment we can use the results to make the media aware of the serious and harmful effects they have on women and hopefully lobby to stop it. Therefore, in this experiment, it is expected that media does negatively affect a women’s self-esteem and personal body image.
This study requires female volunteers from the ages fifteen to fifty five. Participants will be compensated $15.00 for one hour. These volunteers will be used in an experiment, testing the effect media has on women’s body image. Only female volunteers are requested because this study focuses on how media effects just females. By having such a wide range of ages participating, it minimizes the chance for bias and is more representative of the whole population of females. Radio, newspaper ads, flyers and posters will be used to locate participants needed for this study. One hundred female volunteers will be chosen to take part in the study. This large number allows there to be two groups of fifty. Each group of fifty will have a representative sample of all age ranges.
Methods: This experiment will be conducted using two methods, survey and observation. The one hundred participants will be divided into two groups of fifty. Each group will fill out the same survey before entering the room. After filling out the survey, group A will enter the observation room. Here, multiple media ads, commercials and pictures will be shown to the participants of average, healthy women. When the presentation is done the women will leave the room and once again do the same survey that was taken at the beginning. Group B will do the exact same steps that Group A did, but instead of being shown realistic women, they will be shown