Have you ever been looking at a magazine and notice you are not "what a guy wants"? Or have you ever sat and watched television and then proceeded to look into the mirror and feel so badly about your appearance that you felt depressed? Many women in today's world experience these same feelings each time they come in contact with some type of media. The media has always used women as a way to sell products or used them as propaganda, but how far is too far? The media is a large source of entertainment for women of today. Women spend the majority of their time looking at magazines for latest fashions or trends. These media sources all share one subject: negative images of women. These places all share one thing; negative images of women. Women are being used as a sex object and are not portrayed how the average woman looks.
These portrayals can lead to loss of self-esteem and also weight loss. Women should know that they need their spiritual health to live happily and not be influenced by the images that the media portray as the "perfect" body. Women need to have a feeling of being safe, powerful and comfortable within their own bodies. "Media has a negative impact on the way women feel about their bodies", says Julie Parsons a clinical social worker (WVU). The media is such a huge influence in people's lives sometimes they don't realize it. As women are walking down the street, the media can influence them.
As people are riding in the car, the media can influence them. And even as people are sitting in the comfort of their own home, the media can influence them. The media is everywhere influencing our lives; from television to magazines to the Internet (Media's Negative). As a woman grows older she often finds it difficult to be secure in her own body. America has a "desirable" standard that many women want and try to live up too (Media's not). This is why the media has so many young women that are extremely underweight for their height and bone structure.
Weight and shape concerns are influenced by the media (Media's portrayal). This "desirable" standard has so many women feeling obese that women cannot think about themselves in a healthy way, which is an enormous problem. The culture of today's society is surrounded by looks. People in society believe they have to have the "right" car, the "right" cigarette, the "right" food, and the "right" attitude; all with the "right" body (Smith). But what society doesn't see is that 99% of women can never live up to the body type the media presents (Media's portrayal).
It is as though the media is a bad demand out for no good because America's standards are so unrealistic (Media's not). "The media paints a picture of unrealistic body images that make people feel they don't fit and can't fit in", said Shelly Perl in a Sciences Major (WVU). Women come into the world with a sense of innocence and no worries and then once they reach a certain age, they start feeling a sense of security if they have what others have, or if they are the "perfect" women. Women have to face so many different standards within a short span of life that they do not always know what is right. The media is a major influence and influences society beyond its knowledge (Media's).
The media is so influential that it does not allow people to make their own personal judgments (Media's ticket). Some people feel as though the media is not all to blame for negative body images. Television and Magazines have a high impact on women today. In television the majority of female characters on T. V. are thin (Media's not).
Statistics show that the average adolescent girl's unrealistic body images are due to the three to four hours of T. V. they watch (WVU). After women watch at least thirty minutes of T. V. or advertisements with thin women, they show signs of guilt, depression, shame, and body dissatisfaction (Media's Negative).
According to the University of Missouri-Columbia studies, the average woman that becomes so dissatisfied with her body after viewing advertisements on television is Caucasian (Mass). Many women experience that same feeling looking at magazines. "Why do magazines only use models that are size 10 and under? They " re such rakes." (Martin). Most to all of the advertisements in magazines are weight loss products (Media's portrayal). How often does today's society see overweight people in the media? Well, the answer is not that much. Overweight people are hardly ever in the media (Media's not).
The thinness of women today is shown by research to be a result of the media. Women of today's society are extremely caught up in their appearances, especially a woman who is worried about her weight and image. Models aren't even perfect in life; they all have their imperfections (Media's portrayal). Women and what they see in people in the media is an influence of their body obsessions with dieting and eating disorders. If society shows this ideal woman everywhere in the media then young women of today are going to be devastated (Media's negative). "Young women are tired of feeling second rate because they cannot match the thin ideal that they see so often in the media", says Tessa Jo well a member of Government Women's unit (Media's not).
What women strive to be today is 5'7", weighs 100 lbs, and a size 5 with blonde hair and blue eyes (Mass). Actually over the years Miss America contestant's weight has dropped immensely (Media's Negative). This is because many girls are suffering from dieting and Anorexia. Very young girls are beginning to diet more and more. Dieting is becoming more common everyday with high school and college girls. "Women are slowly killing themselves in order to achieve the unattainable standards our society naively depicts" (Media's negative).
This dieting can lead to eating disorders. Eating disorders, girls say, are developed because of the magazines not using "real" girls as models (Martin). On average, about seven million women suffer from eating disorders, in America (WVU). The images they were viewing made them so dissatisfied with their bodies that they fell victim to eating disorders in hopes that it would make them thinner (Mass). Today's world needs to shift the focus on how they look to how they feel about themselves and their faith and spirit. The way society views each person would change if they just felt better about their spirit (Media's Portrayal).
Women need to have a safe feeling and feel powerful and comfortable within their own bodies (I am). "The body becomes the defining factor in life, rather than merely a factor along with personality, intelligence, and character" (Smith). Women's intellectual sides don't get as much attention compared to their appearances. Society needs to realize "our bodies symbolize everything we feel intensely" (I am). The media is not all negative. There are weekly television cable shows that are dedicated to supporting positive role models for women in the media.
But today's society just has a great deal of standards everyone must try to live up to. Sometimes they don't realize they are falling into the spin of industry standards. Everyone must remember that each woman is an individual and everyone must strive to be their own person and stand up for what they believe in. Society has such high standards of "what a guy wants" that people must overcome these and not focus on the media to make them feel as though they are worthy of being pretty and accepted.
People must realize that magazines, television, and the Internet are not the only thing to base the "standard" on. As people grow, they face many hard times and must realize this before it is too late. People need to better themselves and not turn into society where the problems with eating disorders and extreme dieting are not so widespread. Women need to focus on the types of media that present information on helping women of today better themselves and live longer and happier lives. Works Cited I am my body: Celebrating Women's Lives. Opera.
3 Feb 2004. Martin, Nichole and Luisa Metcalfe. "Sex, drugs and thin models worry us, girls tell minister." The (London, England) Daily Telegraph (July 22, 1999). 3 Feb 2004... Mass Media's Negative Effect on Women.
Life News. 3 Feb 2004. Media's Negative Influence. 3 Feb 2004.
The Media's Not So Entertaining Side. University of Louisville. 11 Feb 2004. The Media's Portrayal of Women. Towson. 11 Feb 2004.
The Media's Ticket to Getting Attention. Kelly Koblacki. Harlem Live. 3 Feb 2004.
Smith, Craig. "Body: The Value of Women, Sheree n Noon, USA, 60 Minutes." P-64 (Dec. 5, 2003). 3 Feb 2004...
WVU study to examine media's effect on high school ers's elf image, eating habits. Amanda Yell on. The Diamondback. 3 Feb 2004..