The Media 's Body Image Essay

1908 Words Apr 5th, 2015 8 Pages
We are living and growing up in an era that is media-saturated. Societal standards of attractiveness are presented in nearly all forms of the mass media: television, magazines, billboards, just to name a few. These presentations constantly bombard individuals with a body image that is not a reflection of reality. The typical ideal is for a man to be muscular and promiscuous. The typical ideal for a woman is to be either curvaceous with a slim waist or relatively thin. Although models are utilized to exert this image, only a tiny percent of individuals can ever realistically entertain the hope of achieving the bodies shown in most advertisements (Dittmar). Even though the mass media exposes us to such advertisements, the models used are commonly more than 20% underweight, constituting a diagnostic criterion for anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized, too, by restrictive eating (Dittmar). Not only does exposure to the media’s idealistic body image promote unhealthy eating habits such as starving oneself to lose weight or overeating to gain weight, it engraves an unrealistic belief of what being attractive really is. Advertising, a major marketing institution, has long used idealized images to influence consumers’ desire for products (Dittmar). Because physical attractiveness of a model in an advertisement increases consumers’ positive attitude towards a product, their willingness to purchase, and actual purchase, the mass media industry heavily depends on this…

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