Negative Effects of Media's Representation of Women


Added on  2019-09-30

6 Pages2325 Words218 Views
Student Last Name 1Student NameInstructor NameCourse TitleAssignment TitleDateNegative Effects of Media's Representation of WomenWe are bombarded with images from advertising and media everywhere we go. Whether it is ontelevision, in a magazine, through social media, or on a billboard, exposure to advertisements is inescapable. Ads and images in media sell more than just products. They also sell ideas. These ideas penetrate into our society and shape the way we think, often creating new norms. One way in which adsand media have changed our thinking, is in the representation of women. The way women are seen in advertisements and media has changed the way we as a culture see women. If someone decides to examine women as they are presented in ads and media, the results are shocking. Most people would agree that ads and media only use women models who are fit and thin. However, after an examination of those models as they compare to average women in our society, it is clear that media only shows extremely fit and thin models. The use of excessively thin women in media, gives girls, teens, and women a false understanding of normal appearances. This unrealistic representation of women in media has devastating effects on the women in our culture. In her excerpt from “Girl's Bodies, Girl's Selves: Body Image, Identity, and Sexuality”, found inthe text From Inquiry to Academic Writing by Stuart Greene and April Lidinsky, Elline Lipkin expands on the topic of women represented in media. Lipkin writes, “the average American woman's weight is... 163 pounds and her height is... just under five feet four inches. The height of the average fashion model, on the other hand, is approximately five feet nine inches... and her weight is approximately 117pounds”(601). Women specifically chosen for models, whether to sell consumer products or fashion fads, are excessively thinner and taller than the average woman. Not only are these women in ads and media thin, but they are so thin, most women cannot reach their size. In the study “Predictors of Media

Student Last Name 2Effects on Body Dissatisfaction in European American Women” the way media presents females is analyzed. The researchers say, “the standard of female beauty is a woman who wears a size 4 in the hips, size 2 in the waist, and a size 10 in the bust. This body type is one that is both thinner than the average woman and genetically impossible for most women to attain”(Hamilton, Mintz, Kashubeck-West 397). Not only does this article provide the shocking sizes of media's average women, but it also points out that most women are restricted by genetics, and cannot reach those sizes. These women, however, are chosen for images in advertising and media, and are displayed in every corner of our culture.Unfortunately, the widespread use of thin models in visual ads and media, has created an idealization and new norm. Because beautiful women are depicted as thin, our culture has begun to accept this representation as normal, and emphasizes thinness as a main quality of beauty. As mentioned in the article, “Female Body Image and the Mass Media: Perspectives on How Women Internalize the Ideal Beauty Standard” by Kasey Serdar, “from the perspective of the mass media, thinness is idealized and expected for women to be considered “attractive”.... The media is littered with images of females who fulfill these unrealistic standards, making it seem as if it is normal for a woman to live up to this ideal”(1). When our culture constantly uses the same standard for women in media, that image begins to become idealized by girls, teens, and women. Although it does not reflect the reality of average women, media has created an image of the ideal women. The appearances of this ideal woman have been shaped by images that emphasizes an unattainable thinness. The value and worth of women, are placed in association with this thin ideal. In order to feel valuable, and pretty, women compare themselves to the widely accepted standard. The implications of media's representation of women, however, do not end with simply comparisons. As one might expect, there are several negative consequences associated with the widespread acceptance of media's thin ideal. A very real response to the standards set by media, is discontentment.

Student Last Name 3When women are constantly presented with images that show the ideal thin woman, they strive to look similar. According to the National Eating Disorders Association's website, “81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat”(Get The Facts On Eating Disorders). This widespread fear of being fat shows that our culture has accepted the standard of ideal thinness and strives to meet it. Not only have we acceptedthis standard of beauty, but we prioritize it. We as a culture place value in appearances. When women realize they do not, and cannot, reflect the ideal appearances set by media, they result to dissatisfaction,and lowered self-worth. Because their bodies do not look like the pictures of perfection that media creates, many womenin our culture are unsatisfied with their own image. The article “Predictors of Media Effects on Body Dissatisfaction in European American Women” recaps a study which, as its title suggests, exposes the effects of ideals found in media on women. For this study, a group of women recorded their personal satisfaction with their own image prior to and then after viewing an advertisement featuring a woman who exampled media's thin ideal. The women participating in the study reported significantly more dissatisfaction with their self-image after seeing the advertisement (Hamilton, Mintz, Kashubeck-West 397-402). When a woman sees the ideal thin image plastered everywhere in media, and then compares her own image with that standard, the resulting dissatisfaction is inevitable. Although this issue is not often addressed or made known, a majority of women feel this way. According to the National Eating Disorders Association's web page, “80% of women say that the images of women on television, and in movies, fashion magazines, and advertising make them feel insecure” (Get The Facts On Eating Disorders). There is a clear issue with our acceptance of media's supposedly normal standards, if they cause a majority of women to feel insecure. Although dissatisfaction with self-image is a significant issue, there are more severe consequences from the false representation of women in media.One of the most severe results of media's thin ideal, is the growing occurrence of eating disorders. Unfortunately when girls, teens, and women come to terms with the fact they do not measure

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