The Mass Media’S Impact On Body ImagePresentation Transcript
The Mass Media’s Impact on Body Image By: Brianne Crane
The average person sees around five thousand advertisements per day. One third of those advertisements involve appearance ideals (Dixon 2008).
Background “The media, like other social institutions, provide the materials for the construction of gendered identities, maintain and reproduce gendered depictions of appropriate or inappropriate behaviors to images that capture our aspirations and imaginations” (Kimmel 2008). The mass media consists of: television, internet, magazines, movies, music, advertisements, the radio, and billboards. The media is so apparent in our lives it has seeped into our consciousness and subconscious’s without us being able to control it.
Background “It can be argued the body image is a core aspect of physical and mental well-being” (Dittmar 2009). A person’s body image can deeply affect them in all aspects of life; some of the risk factors are depression, eating disorders, obesity, extensive cosmetic surgery, steroid abuse, unhealthy lifestyle choices, and last but not least a completely unrealistic vision of themselves. People with negative body images can feel ashamed of themselves, self-conscious, anxious about their body, have low self-esteem, and have a distorted perception of their body’s shape or size. People with a negative body image are more likely to develop an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia, & binge eating.
Background Barbie boasts long toothpick like legs, a nonexistent waist, huge boobs, beautiful long hair, perfectly tan skin, and feet permanently made for high heels. “She’s been estimated to have a 39-inch bust, an 18-inch waist, and 33-inch hips… To recreate her dimensions, a 125-pound woman would have to be 7’2” tall” (Wilbur 2005). It would be extremely unhealthy for a real woman to look like this. “In 2001, cosmetic surgeons performed nearly 220,000 breast augmentations and close to half as many reductions” (Kimmel 2008).
Hypothesis & Participants My hypothesis was I think the participants in my study are going to be aware of the mass Medias effect on their lives and body image but still feel like they have some control over their body image. I chose to do a random convenience sample of women to take a survey. I gave the survey to some of my fellow classmates and also asked people at random at the mall, Target, and Fred Meyer.
Methods: The Survey 1. How old are you? 2. If you could change anything about yourself would you? If yes, what would it be? 3. What were your favorite toys when you were younger? 4. What magazines do you read? 5. How would you describe yourself? 6. What do you like about yourself? 7. Do you feel influenced by the media? 8. Do you think men's magazines influence the way you dress or act? If yes, why? 9. What is your opinion on plastic surgery? 10. What are your thoughts on this quote "In societies where women's status is higher, smaller breasts are considered more attractive"(Kimmel 2008).
Methods: The Survey I tried to put a lot of thought into the order of the questions and the wording. I didn’t want one question to lead the participant to start thinking of a certain topic which might affect their answer for another question. I also wanted to leave a lot of the questions open ended in the sense of the participant could answer the question how they felt was fitting. Questions five and six I left open ended in the sense that the participant could respond with a mixture of both physical and mental descriptors. Question ten is a quote from our text book that I found really shocking. After doing the survey I found it was hard for some to answer this question without the context of our class and the buildup of the text.
Results I surprised with my results for question two. I was expecting a lot of physical traits that the participants would want changed and it actually was mostly even with physical and personality traits. For question three almost everyone listed Barbie among their favorite child hood toys. I’m not surprised there. It just shows what an impact that doll has made if almost my whole sample group listed her. Question five the participants chose to mostly answer this question with personality traits for the most part. This is the direction that I thought was most fitting for the question. I asked this question before the next one because I wanted to see how many people starting describing physical attributes in order to describe themselves. I was pleasantly surprised that not everyone did that. Question six brought a lot of interesting likes about oneself but it was as I predicted mostly physical things.
Conclusion I think all of my data supports my hypothesis, all of my participants are aware of the media’s effect on their lives. They know it is both a conscious and subconscious presence. I think it is impossible to avoid the media. I think the best way to get through life is to surround yourself with good positive people and things and have the inner belief in yourself not to compare yourself to all of the airbrushed images.
Reference List Dittmar, Helga. 2009. “How Do “Body Perfect” Ideals in the Media Have A Negative Impact on Body Image and Behaviors? Factors and Processes Related to Self and Identity” Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology; Vol. 28 Issue 1. Retrieved August 10, 2009 Available: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=36604149&site= ehost Dixon, Erica. 2008. In-Class Lecture. Gurari, Inbal. 2006. “Beauty in the “I” of the Beholder: Effects of Idealized Media Portrayals on Implicit Self-Image” Basic and Applied Social Psychology; Vol. 28 Issue 3. Retrieved August 8, 2009 Available: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=22298066&site= ehost Kimmel, Michael. 2008. The Gendered Society, Third Edition. New York, New York. Oxford. Wilbur, Brett. 2005. “Health and Fitness: We Are Not Barbie” Monterey County Weekly; January 20, 2005. Retrieved August 15, 2009 Available: http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/archives/2005/2005-Jan- 20/Article.cover_feature_1/1/@@index