Media, Body Image, and Eating Disorders Essay

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These days it is almost impossible to walk through a store without seeing a magazine that features a young, slim model on the cover. Flipping through the pages, there are more pictures of young, beautiful women, all skinny. Each and every single picture is airbrushed to perfection. It is hard not to take a good look at the model and begin to think, “Why can’t I be as pretty as her?” Many females, from as young as elementary school, struggle with their body image and their self-esteem. In fact, in a study consisting of fifth graders, ten year old girls and boys told researchers they were dissatisfied with their own bodies after watching a music video by Britney Spears or a clip from the TV show "Friends" (University of Washington). …show more content…
Psychologically, people are inclined to want to become more like their role model. A study was conducted by Penelope Lockwood, Christian H. Jordan, and Ziva Kunda about positive and negative role models. Lockwood, Jordan, and Kunda define a negative role model as an individual who has experienced misfortune, while positive role models are those who have achieved outstanding success. The study reports that people are more receptive when their role model “highlights strategies” that are consistent with their own goals. People are less likely to follow the negative role model because their actions have resulted in misfortune (855). In this case, a model in a magazine is categorized as a positive role model while the goal is to become skinny. According to this study, upon seeing an article featuring their role model speaking out to them, the readers will be more willing to use those dieting practices in their lives. The media also skews society’s image of the ideal body size through television, magazines, and the internet. Sometimes advertisements will show a plus-sized model as the focus. The average American woman is 5’4” and weighs 140 pounds (Chojnacki, Maguire, Grant, & Regan, para. 1). As seen with H&M’s plus-sized models, even though they are labeled as “plus-sized,” the models appear to resemble the average American (Adams). The skewed view in the media about body

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