The Media's Effect on Women's Body Image.
Perhaps no time in history have body image standards had such an enormous impact on society. With today's mass media people can be subjected to thousands of images and messages daily, portrayed by the "ideal" body image. The people most often portrayed and effected by these messages are young women. People conducted a poll that confirmed women are three times as likely to have negative thoughts about their bodies and men are, and the younger they are, the more unhappy they are (Levitt and Schneider 2). Females can feel constant pressure to live up to these ideals which are most often unattainable. Body image can be defined as an individual's subjective concept of his or her physical appearance. Body image involves both a perceptual and attitudinal element. The self-perceptual component consists of what an individual sees or thinks in body shape, size, and appearance. The attitudinal component reflects how we feel about those attributes and how the feelings motivate certain behavior with body appearance. The impact body image standards is having on women is immeasurable. Women will put their bodies through horrible things in order to look thin, self-induced starvation (anorexia) or a cycle of binging and purging (bulimia). Not to mention the money they spend, women are spending billions of dollars a year on "miracle" beauty products, dieting products, and cosmetic surgery. In this paper, I will expound upon the effects media is having on the young women of today. .
In Levitt and Schneider's article "Mission Impossible," they explore young women's feelings on their own body images and what impacted them to feel that way. Thomas Cash, a professor of psychology says, "There is a tremendous stigma in our society about being fat, kids aspire to be thin, but just any kind of thin is not sufficient--now it has to be thin and toned. If people compare themselves with these unrealistic standards, they can only conclude they are born losers.