The Objectification Of Women

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INTRODUCTION In Western societies, girls as young as three years old begin to internalize the ideals of the desired body size and shape (Dittmar et al. 2006; Perloff 2014). Research indicates that 40% of nine and ten year old girls were trying to lose weight (Bishop 2001). Women are constantly reminded, even from a young age, on what society perceives to be beautiful and ideal. These perceptions are often times not achievable by most women and the images used by the media are usually digitally manipulated (Bishop 2001; Reaves et al. 2004). These images of women are manipulated to promote a standard of thinness for women in Western society.
Digital manipulation of women’s images causes objectification of the female body in society (Piran 2001;
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2008). The Objectification theory states that women take on society’s views of their own bodies and from it determine their self-worth (Peterson et al. 2008). This can create negative attitudes and behaviors in women about their bodies. Even if a woman did not personally accept the ideal of thinness, she would conform if it was considered a norm by others (Park 2005). When a woman’s self-image is put into question by society’s ideals of thinness, she may be more likely to develop disordered eating behaviors (Polivy and Herman …show more content…
Women who suffer from anorexia nervosa have a low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, body and weight disturbance, and amenorrhea (Lokken et al. 2004). 80-85 percent of victims of anorexia are female (Bishop 2001). Sufferers of bulimia nervosa have patterns of binge eating, followed by purging behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, and excessive exercise (Lokken et al. 2004). Those with bulimia are often able to hide their disorder because, unlike women with anorexia, they can maintain a normal body weight (Bishop 2001). Discrepancies in actual body image and the thin one considered ideal in Western society leads to behaviors such as eating disorders (Piran 2001; Posavac et al. 2001; Polivy and Herman 2004; Peterson et al. 2008).
Research shows that depictions of the thin ideal in media leads to body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and eating disorders (Reaves et al. 2004). It was reported that “14 percent of anorexic women rated the media’s over-emphasis of celebrities as “extremely encouraging” in promoting their eating disordered behavior.” (Levitt 1997; Reaves et al. 2004).

CONCLUSION Researchers argue that internalization of the thinness ideal may contribute to eating disorders. Media, particularly women’s magazines, offer conflicting messages on eating, dieting, and body expectations. More research must be done to observe the effects

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