November 13, 2013
In a study on fifth graders, 10 year old girls and boys told researchers they were dissatisfied with their own bodies after watching a music video by Britney Spears or a clip from the TV show "Friends." (National Institute of Media and The Family, 2013). The society we live in today revolves around social technology. It is through that technology that messages are spread around the globe. But what is the constant message being spread no matter who is advertising? Be skinny; because if you are not, good luck fitting in or being accepted. This idealized image of being thin is effecting each and every one of us , whether we realize it or not. People around the world are seeing themselves unfit because their own bodies do not look like what is being commercialized. With that being said, the media should be held responsible for women’s poor self-image, body dissatisfaction and potential eating disorders because their advertising is constant, affecting our young ones and is affecting all ethnicities.
Originally, many may argue the media is not responsible for women’s insecurities because there is no proof it is directly their fault. For example, some researchers say eating disorders are predetermined through genes. Their research is proven and continually supported by parents, biopsychiatric researchers, clinicians and young adolescents. Research suggests, “Of course, we know now that eating disorders, like mood disorders and schizophrenia, are severe, self-sustaining psychiatric illnesses with a genetic and biochemical basis. So, of course, no scientist seriously thinks that mass media and the escapades of actors, models, and celebrities have anything to do with causing them.” (Levine, M.P., & Murren, S.K., 2009). In a quick synopsis, supporters of such results truly feel media’s ideals of thin play no role in the minds of women, unless proven genetically. Certainly many people believe this, as it seems only logical. However, the media should be held responsible because they are brainwashing, manipulating, and setting women up for poor effects of their advertising.
Undoubtedly, women should be strong and secure enough to realize they are perfect the way they are and do not need to meet the criteria of the media. However, the media wears on their ability to be tough while accepting who they are. It is comparable to constantly being knocked down. At first many will easily get back up and dust themselves off. It is after several times of being pushed down though when their desire to keep trying will dissipate. Even if women are making the conscious effort to be healthy and lose weight, repeatedly seeing painstakingly thin women on the covers of magazines make them feel inferior. It is as if any progress they are making on their own is irrelevant since they do not look like the woman on the cover.
“The prevalence of discontent and problems concerning weight and shape has been so high for so long among girls and women that for 25 years it has been considered ‘normative.’” (Levine, 2009). This does not only hold true for the covers of magazines, but also for movies, TV shows, music videos, commercials, etc. No one who is trying to better herself has a strong enough self-image to endure the media. All in all, even with mental toughness from females, media’s relentless advertising morals will knock down further improvements.
Continuing, media is to blame for the start of young girl’s body dissatisfaction. This is simply inexcusable, they are only adding to the number of women the media is ruining. “A substantial percentage, perhaps 20%, of females ages 12 through 30 have levels of negative body image and disordered eating high enough to create significant suffering for themselves and others.” (Levine, 2009). Twenty-percent is outrageous, the media should know better. Most