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Body Image in the Media

The popular media such as the television, magazines, and movies have ever since the World War II progressively held up a thinner and thinner body image as the best ideal for women. So, who actually in these media contribute immensely to this unfortunate trend? Well, a PhD student at the University of Purdue showed that the celebrities and stars, mostly based in Hollywood, are to blame for this. The research also stated that almost half of girls in the whole world do copy these stars and celebrities, the way they dress and their perceptions in accordance to their body. It is because of the aforementioned statements that this paper wants to consider the contribution of media and celebrities into destroying the girls image, and the way they changed girls’ thinking that for one to be pretty she has to be skinny.

No surprise, over the same time, mass media have progressively thinner representations of a female body. In the past, psychological research has realized a rather moderate positive relationship between the media exposure and eating disorder symptomatology. This paper considers the role cultivation theories and social comparison play in media in affecting the body dissatisfaction, the drive for thinness and the disordered eating. In conjunction, it examines some specific personal qualities and other types of media which may strengthen or rather weaken the relationship.

According to American Psychiatric Association, roughly 0.5% to 3.0% of the entire population suffers from the disordered eating. Females do develop bulimia nervosa (BN) and anorexia nervosa (AN), the two common eating disorders mostly associated with the drive for thinness, around ten times more commonly than do in the males. Among some females, most recent lifetime occurrence statistics of AN and BN do range from around 0.5% to 3.7% and from 1.1% to 4.2% correspondingly. Furthermore, since the year 1960, eating disorder incidence rates have almost doubled. Remarkably, at the same period of that time, the mass media have portrayed the progressively thinner depictions of the female body. In a famous content study by Garner and his colleagues, it was reported that female body measurements and these weights of the Playboy centerfolds in addition to Miss America Pageant competitors had reduced dramatically between the year 1959 and 1978. Just recently, Wiseman and colleagues in Hollywood have shown the same trend.

The media have simply altered the way the entire world considers beauty. The white beauty has obviously sought superiority over the beauty of some other groups of people such as the Asians, Africans and it can be considered as the conventional beauty standard. Conventional bioethics in the United States does originate from Anglo-Saxon worldview, serving silently to the perpetuate white supremacy. Hollywood has by a large scale affected how the Asians and Africans want to appear nowadays, and the Asian and the African women show their preferences to beauty standards above that of Asian and African in the group, particularly for the white.

Hollywood culture does entail physically good-looking individuals. Physically attractive individuals, often regarded more favorably than the less attractive people on the dimensions which are feebly related, or rather unrelated to the physical appearance, glamorized sociability, morality and intelligence (Universal Beauty Ideals in Women's Magazines, 2007).

The idea that Hollywood cultures are mainly the white, Caucasian, and have the power over several people, indicates just how much it is being considered to the mainstream standards of beauty. Celebrities like Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan do nothing least of the looks, are extremely skinny and are rumored to suffer from eating disorders. In omnipresent billboards, the Hollywood ideals are frequently leading to feelings of physical insufficiency (Universal Beauty Ideals in Women's Magazines, 2007). They feel inseparable from Hollywood culture in conjuction to their aim to look exactly as every female would like to look. This is what can be assumed to represent the American Beauty which most women are looking forward to emulating.

As media depicts Hollywood culture rather as "godly" and the idea that media is immensely powerful and hugely influential when it comes to informing people on what to imagine, "The white beauty" is what many females look into and want to be. Like the Asians and Africans possess features far from Caucasian white characterristics, they do imagine that they don’t look extremely good or rather as "attractive" as their whites counterparts. Some of the members of the pilloried groups, such as African and Asia women, are likely to undergo rather negative individual evaluations afterwards.

Many modern American women crave for an unrealistically skinny body and they totally fail to remember that this phenomenon could be detrimental to their physical and emotional health (Universal Beauty Ideals, 2007).

The increasing significance of the skinny ideal is appearing from altering perceptions of the ectomorphic body type. In fifty years ever since Stevens and Sheldon (1942) done their somatotype investigation, some negative characteristics associated with the skinny, or the ectomorphic, body building have diminished. During the early 1940s, Stevens and Sheldon realized that the ectomorphic individuals are always perceived negatively by the others as nervous, socially withdrawn and submissive. Later in 1980s though, this perception has changed significantly. As compared to individuals with mesomorphic and endomorphic body forms, ectomorphic people got rated most positively and were thought to be more sexually attractive.
The introduction of a skinny body type as a beauty standard for women is particularly salient in mass media.

Assessing the weight, body measurements and height of Playboy centerfolds and Miss America Pageant contestants from the year 1960 to 1979, Garner realized that the percentage of the average weight of several models fluctuated considerably. In the year 1960, an average weight of Playboy models was around 91% of the mean population. In the year 1978, the average weight dropped to around 85% of the normal weight of the entire population. The same trend appeared among Miss America Pageant competitors: just before the year 1970, the mean weight for most contestants was about declining by a significant percentage.

Despite the advice by the elderly that girls should not emulate these characteristics, most ladies still are "dying" to be beautiful. ‘Either beautiful or die trying’, a message frequently presented in the media is detrimental to the American public. The wish to be beautiful has received attention by blinding the entire public with several images of the so-called "beautiful people."

The message that the media depicts to the society is more harmful than beneficial to the females. These images depict common individuals as intensely unattractive. This causes many people to alter their figure in an attempt attain, media’s vision of being beauty by getting skinny. Regrettably, these unrealistic pictures do affect self-consciousness of adolescents who get surrounded by the images of what the media contemplates as beautiful.

Every day girls get exposed to the magazines with models appearing extremely emaciated, shown along with men and women having perfect muscular body. Most young girls admire these fake role models and do imitate their appearance. Because of the impacts celebrities have on girls from the younger generations, many people under the influence of Britney Spears., for example, are becoming wannabes and start wearing extremely tiny mini-skirts and rather naval-bearing shirts.

Many teenage girls and adults have gone too far to attain the best, often deadly, appearance conceivable. Most of the misguided people, including some renowned celebrities, have ended up dying because of bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. They are more than willing to risk their entire career or even their lives in an attempt to attain the fake skinny image expected by the media.

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