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Media's Effect On Girls: Body Image

11 October 2009, 07:31 PM    #1
Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 7
Last edited by ‹›, 3 December 2009
I'm sorry.. If I'm not pretty enough to be "your girl". I'm sorry.. If I'm not tan enough for you. I'm sorry.. If I'm not a playboy model so I don't act like a porn star for you. I'm sorry.. If I don't have a dream body that turns you on. I'm sorry.. If I won't drop down to my knees to get you to like me. I'm sorry.. If my hair is not long enough. I'm sorry.. If I'm not the "hottest" girl you have ever seen. But most of all... I'm sorry that most guys can't accept a girl for who they really are. Credit For Text: mediafamily Did you know? During childhood, adolescence, media exposure is part of a constellation of sociocultural factors that promote a thinness schema for girls and the muscularity schema for boys. A child's body image develops as the result of many influences: * A newborn begins immediately to explore what her body feels like and can do. This process continues her whole life. * A child's body image is influenced by how people around her react to her body and how she looks. * A pre-adolescent becomes increasingly aware of what society's standards are for the "ideal body." Media's Effect on Body Image The popular media (television, movies, magazines, etc.) have, since World War II, increasingly held up a thinner and thinner body (and now ever more physically fit) image as the ideal for women. The ideal man is also presented as trim, but muscular. * Rumble, Cash, and Nashville found that the schematic association of attractiveness and thinness with goodness was present in over 100 female characters appearing in 23 Walt Disney animated films (cel cartoons) produced over a 60-year period. * Fouts and Burggraf observed that thin female characters in television situation comedies were more likely than heavier female characters to be praised by male characters, and less likely to be insulted by male characters in ways deliberately tied to evocation of “canned” and supportive audience laughter. * Since the 1980s magazines have increasingly depicted the male body in a state of objectified undress, such that a significant focus for the camera and viewer is raw, exposed (“chiseled” or “ripped”) muscularity. * Field et al. reported that the majority of nearly 550 working class adolescent girls were dissatisfied with their weight and shape. Almost 70% of the sample stated that pictures in magazines influence their conception of the “perfect” body shape, and over 45% indicated that those images motivated them to lose weight. Further, adolescent girls who were more frequent readers of women’s magazines were more likely to report being influenced to think about the perfect body, to be dissatisfied with their own body, to want to lose weight, and to diet. * Teen-age girls who viewed commercials depicting women who modeled the unrealistically thin-ideal type of beauty caused adolescent girls to feel less confident, more angry and more dissatisfied with their weight and appearance. * In a study on fifth graders, 10 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". * In another recent study on media's impact on adolescent body dissatisfaction, two researchers found that: * Teens who watched soaps and TV shows that emphasized the ideal body typed reported higher sense of body dissatisfaction. This was also true for girls who watched music videos. * Reading magazines for teen girls or women also correlated with body dissatisfaction for girls. * Identification with television stars (for girls and boys), and models (girls) or athletes (boys), positively correlated with body dissatisfaction. Media's Effect on Gender Identity Many children watch between two and four hours of television per day. The presence or absence of role models, how women and men, girls and boys are presented, and what activities they participate in on the screen powerfully affect how girls and boys view their role in the world. Studies looking at cartoons, regular television, and commercials show that although many changes have occurred and girls, in particular have a wider range of role models, for girls "how they look" is more important than "what they do." * In a 1997 study designed to study how children described the roles of cartoon characters, children (ages four to nine) "perceived most cartoon characters in stereotypical ways: boys were violent and active and girls were domestic, interested in boys, and concerned with appearances". * In another study, three weeks of Saturday morning toy commercials were analyzed. Results found that: 1. 50% of the commercials aimed at girls spoke about physical attractiveness, while none of the commercials aimed at boys referenced appearance. 2. Boys acted aggressively in 50% of the commercials aimed at them, while none of the girls behaved aggressively. 3. With regard to work roles, no boys had unpaid labor roles, and girls were mainly shown in traditional female jobs or roles of unpaid labor. * Dr. Nancy Signorielli, Professor of Communications at the University of Delaware examined the types of media most often viewed by adolescent girls: television, commercials, films, music videos, magazines and advertisements. While the study did find positive role models of women and girls using their intelligence and acting independently, the media also presented an overwhelming message that girls and women were more concerned with romance and dating (and it follows how they look), while men focus on their occupations.

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