The media is a powerful tool that influences the majority of the population. It has the largest impact, although, on teenage girls. All across the United States, millions of young girls see as many as three thousand ads each day, either in magazines, on billboards, or on television. These same adolescent girls are suffering with a range of problems, everywhere from low self-esteem to life threatening eating disorders. Many girls look at magazine images and ads that they see, and visualize the 'perfect body image', however these pictures can be harmful as well as misleading. It is important to recognize women as smart individuals, who look past outer beauty, but rather inner beauty.
Despite what teenage girls may intend or imply, the media will always have a large impact on their lives. Many girls believe that to be pretty means to be thin, however this is not the case. The average woman is 5'4'' and 140 pounds, but the majority of the women that are in magazines are 5'10'' and 110 pounds. This means that the typical fashion model is 23% thinner then the average woman.
The body type required being that thin is only common in 10% of the population. This is determined by genetics and no diet will ever allow the average size girl to be that thin. In order for a woman to be healthy, she should have at least 17% to 22% body fat. Store mannequins for example, would only have 10% body fat if they were real women. Women believe that their physical appearance is extremely important. The majority of the pictures of women in magazines are computer enhanced.
Many individual body parts are manipulated and don't actually appear that way in reality. Only 5% of women have model size body type and shape, although this 5% is brainwashing girls into believing it is the only acceptable figure. Everyone's body type and shape is unique, however the media portraying the 'model perfect' body has caused girls to go to extremes to achieve this ideal body image. There are many girls that strive so hard to look like the models they see in magazines that they actually start to do unhealthy things to lose weight. It is becoming more of a mental health condition, rather then girls just trying to lose a few pounds. A recent study, done by numerous medical institutions, found that in a group of 350 young men and women, a preoccupation with one's appearance has harmful effects on mental health.
Women tended to score much higher than men did on this test. Women are more inclined to view one's own body from outside in, in matters such as physical attractiveness, sex appeal, and weight. Some girls for example have become depressed because of their appearance, and their weight, so they go to extremes to lose weight. More than 15 million Americans suffer from depression at any given moment.
Every 1 in 4 girls exhibit depressive symptoms. That means that an average of 1/4 of the girls in a school show signs of depression. While only 1 in 4 girls show signs of depressive symptoms, in a study done, 1 in 3 girls had had thoughts about suicide in the previous two weeks and another 3% responded positively to the statement "I want to kill myself." Naturally, this is where anorexia and bulimia come into play. Most girls are depressed because of their weight, so they are willing to do anything they can to lose weight. Anorexia and Bulimia can be caused by a number of different reasons, but the most common is the focus the media puts on skinny models. The media shows thin people as being beautiful.
90% to 95% of anorectics are female, and 1/3 of anorectics develop bulimia. If the media would stop focusing so much of the fact that beautiful and happy girls are skinny, then there would be a considerable amount of teenage girls that would be much more healthy, and that would not suffer from depression, anorexia, and bulimia. Images of women are found in the media all over the world. Unfortunately, most of the images of women are not just restricted, but negative.
These images misrepresent who women really are, demean them, and make it harder to see them as individuals. When woman are only shown as thin, passive or rich, it becomes more difficult for both men and woman to accept them as diverse, multi-faced people. It is important to remember that beauty comes from the inside, and how thin and beautiful you are, will not determine how the world should accept you. If the media would stop brainwashing young girls into believing that you have to be thin to be accepted and happy, then maybe there would be a much easier environment for young girls to grow up in. In conclusion, the media's advertising can greatly influence the negative body image. It's really an unsettling fact to see that young girls are so vulnerable to the media's portrayal of women.
Not only do girls feel pressure to become skinny, they also feel pressured from the media and society to achieve perfection and create the most desired physical appearance. When girls think of body image they envision super models, actresses and these images make female youth uncomfortable with their body. Part of the body image idea is being content with appearance. It seems girls fear being unattractive, and this attributes to the superficial qualities of our society.