As mentioned before, unrealistic media images are very prevalent. This creates the illusion that females who match the ideal seem like the norm rather than the exception. These perceptions and the constant comparisons lead to the cultivation theory which is known as the contributions media exposure makes to the viewer’s perceptions of social reality (Von Vonderen and Kinnally 53). The repetitiveness of these images influences the individual’s ability to understand that the images are unrealistic. Over time the nearly impossible standard of beauty is adopted and perceived as “reality.” People who watch heavy amounts of TV are more likely to see the real world according to what they have watched. Viewers often seek out programming that
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This theory also states that it is difficult for people to recall whether information came from a direct experience or a mediated experience. When women think of their perception of the ideal body figure, they cannot help but to think about all of the unrealistic media models. Resonance also suggests that peer and media attitudes reinforce each other. Peer influence has a large impact on what is considered to be normal and desirable with regards to body shape. Peers who are heavy viewers of thin-ideal media share similar attitudes about weight and body shape. Therefore, if one peer is a heavy viewer, those negative thoughts will spread and impact everyone in the friend group. Nowadays it is not uncommon for the average adolescent to know a peer that has or has had an eating disorder. A study showed that, “20% of 9-year-olds and over 40 % of 14-year-olds reported wanting to lose weight” (Serdar). A majority of these girls were reported to be considered normal weight.
The self-schema theory helps explain why some viewers are more vulnerable to self-comparisons, cultivation and resonance. According to Jaehee Jung, assistant professor at the University of Delaware, the term self-schema is defined as the beliefs and ideas that people have about themselves. They are said to guide the way