The Media and Body Image – Women’s Studies Essay (100 Level Course)
The media has impact on everyone, everywhere and all the time. Whether the population hears it on television, movies, or the radio perhaps. Maybe they read about how to be beautiful on advertisements, or in magazines.
There are so many ways to read about and see pictures of what “beautiful” women look like. Many people try very hard to mimic the set appearance.
Although, its not always women, many men try Anorexia Nervosa just like the women do. Anorexia is a serious eating disorder that many Americans suffer from. Most of the time, the spectators don’t realize that in reality they are being told to look and dress a certain way and it becomes second nature to them. In a way, Media is like evolution. When Marilyn Monroe was popular, she was an amazingly gorgeous woman and most thought of her that way. Now she would actually be considered a large, overweight person.
Anorexia Nervosa is becoming a larger problem as time grows. Models are normally about 5’11 and weigh 115lbs. And that is not realistic for an average woman who is around 5’7 and 140lbs to look that way. It’s unhealthy. Anorexia can have severe or fatal consequences that can very easily result in death if not treated right away.
Therapy would be needed to help get through this disorder because most of it is mind and body and trying to improve self-esteem. When people get upset, sometimes they tend to not eat and this can be sparked by being very depressed, or going away to college, family problems, reaching puberty or even relationships. This is a serious matter and when media portrays this kind of information to our youth it gets to the point where no one can ignore it “in order to be beautiful, you have to be thin” (Smith 22) That is the beginning of dangerous dieting or anorexia “the more you lose, the more you want to lose” (Smith 38) Young teens and some adults don’t understand how harmful it is to your body to not eat. When it gets to the point where you cant eat food anymore, the doctors actually give the patients a choice of this special type of nutrition that almost looks like a cup cake with out any flavor what so ever or eating through a tube that runs down through the nose to the stomach. Either way it is just plain awful. Many people will develop osteoporosis and have extremely brittle and fragile bones and have to rely on the assistance of others or a cane or wheel chair to get around.
Media has a huge influence on society today, especially on teens. Everyone has seen or heard of some type of advertisement promoting some type of beauty product, jewelry, or a new brand of clothing to say the least. Almost all of it is based on beauty “when media television, movies, magazines and advertising widely promotes this ideal, it becomes difficult to ignore.” (Smith 24) That pretty much sums it all up. The quote basically says that people cannot get away from it all. It’s almost impossible to ignore it unless being cut off from the world, which is not realistic. Just like an article in Teen peoples magazine on page 47 on February’s addition where they are telling the reader about a new band. It states “Who you’ll love” and “Why you’ll love them” (Bank 47) then it gives reasons. That obviously is implying to the reader that they have to like them and that other people are going to like them too, so to be cool they need to buy their CD’s and become a fan.
Over the years, men and women have forgotten about inner beauty. They take in what is seen with their eyes and not felt with the heart. Personality is a large part of inner beauty and is part of what makes someone beautiful from the inside out and not from just the shallow aspect that everyone is programmed to see. Why do people try to look the same when everyone is a unique and individual person?
In conclusion, body image is not to be taken lightly. Media has a strong impact on today’s teens and affects everyone’s views and their ways of thinking. It is a very strong tool that they have control over, and only you, as the reader can decide whether or not it’s worth paying attention to.