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Society's Influence and Perception of Body Image and Appearance

Autor:   •  March 16, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,547 Words (11 Pages)  •  2,170 Views

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It is no secret that the media heavily scrutinizes "pin thin" celebrities. In that respect, we must also admit the immense public concern that is derived from celebrities with eating disorders. At a very young age, Americans are subjected to what is considered beautiful through television, billboards, and of course the lives of the rich and famous. The ideal depiction that is offered by the media is clearly unrealistic; leading some people to argue that this subjection and influence helps develop unrealistic expectations and desires among men and women thus, causes body dissatisfaction (Holmstrom, 2004).

Many researchers claim that media have an effect on body image (Hofschire & Greenberg, 2002). It is from this realization that this study takes place; the purpose of this study is to investigate the actual relationship between body image and the influence of our society. This study also accounts for the amount of exposure of the media's ideals and the type of exposure being used. It also aids the early detection of our society's growing epidemic of body dysmorphia. It is ever apparent that our society is very interested in the media and the lives of celebrities, which is why this study holds a great amount of significance. This study also proves importance through providing a relative connection between the desires that a person hopes to attain and an unobtainable goal. The benefits of this study will hopefully offer some explanation to the influence of media's definition of beauty and the person hoping for classification in that specific ranking. In addition, this study may also offer reasoning behind premature body dissatisfaction in adolescence. This study cumulates results of various researches that have examined the correlation between media exposure and body image.

Media's Effect on Body Image

The increasing popularity of body dissatisfaction amongst young men and women has led to speculation about its origin. The most prominent theory surrounding this evident problem is that the media's constant depiction of extremely thin women leads women to believe they should try to meet this ideal. In the same respect, the media's influence of an attractive and fit male is also believed to have a negative effect on men (Holmstrom, 2004). In fact, studies show that in recent years men have been spending more money than ever before on products that are typically classified as feminine; this reinforces the fact women are not the only target when pertaining to the influence of the media. In that same respect, the average American woman is a size 8 or larger which is quite different from the average model that fits into a size zero (Clay, D., Vignoles, V., & Dittmar, H., 2005). It is the very claim that the media can provoke body dissatisfaction that has led many researchers to speculate whether this relationship


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