About two years ago one of my good friends struggled with self-confidence to an immense degree. It affected her daily life, friendships, and relationships. Being her best friend, I was always the one she vented to about her dissatisfaction, and it was constant. It got to a point where it was not very pleasant to be around her. She was always putting on pounds of makeup, switching out her outfits (because she thought she looked fat), and complaining that no guys ever noticed her. Dealing with the same things but on a much smaller level, I started to notice why all this dissatisfaction came upon us.
We had just reached the stage where we were noticing all the media and it was taking a toll on us. With constant ads of flawless models in our faces we began to try to imitate this beauty but failed miserably. I came to the conclusion that the modeling industry bares a huge responsibility in providing realistic and healthy role models for young women because if only unrealistic, underweight models are constantly in the media, woman will come to believe these misconceptions of what beauty is, which then can affect their self-confidence in a negative manner.
You may not fully be aware of what the modeling industry exactly does to these flawless pictures you constantly see. The artificial process a modeling industry uses to create an ad is hidden from the public. Jean Kilbourne’s film Killing Us Softly 4, she explains the process of making a fashion advertisement picture. The company begins by taking a model that has a body type “that fewer than 5% of American woman have,” and they Photoshop the picture. This is often done by taking several different pictures of models and taking, for example, the lips of one model and the legs of another model and morphing them together to make one person.
In Kilbourne’s words, “four or five women get put together to look like one perfect women. ” Ken Harris, a photo retouch-er, explained that a photo is worked on for multiple rounds, going from the retouch-ers to the client and the agency to continue the process of perfection. There is rarely ever a photograph of what is considered a beautiful woman that has not been Photoshoped. Cindy Crawford, a famous super model, has quoted “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford” meaning that even the models do not look like themselves in photos. As if these models are not thin enough, the bodies of thin models are Photoshopped as well.
This is interesting because “the body size of glamorous models is often more than 20% underweight. ” (Amy Brown 1088). Kilbourne brings the example of the model Filippa Hamilton who was digitally altered to have her head larger than her pelvic bone which is physically impossible. With these perfected inhuman like photos constantly haunting us everywhere, it makes it hard for women to have confidence in their beauty and body because the media distorts it. No matter how hard we try, it is nearly impossible to achieve this beauty simply because it’s fake. Only computers can generate this kind of beauty.
No wonder teenage girls are so emotional. Standards of beauty are shoved in their faces and it is impossible for girls to achieve them. Being exposed to these photos can do an abundance of damage to young girls. One example of a negative effect is the way young woman perceive their body image. Marika Tiggemann and Janet Polivy, explain a study they wrote, how one hundred and fourteen women were exposed to fashion magazines with thin, attractive women, leading the majority of candidates in the study feeling dissatisfied with themselves and a decreasing elevation of mood.
Their results concluded how exactly the idealized media images translate into disapproval of one’s self. The same thing was proved in a study written by Gayle R. Bessenoff. “Exposure to thin-ideal advertisements increased body dissatisfaction, negative mood, and levels of depression and lowered self-esteem. ”(Bessenoff 239) In Body Image, Media Effect on, Kristen Harrison breaks down the two terms: body image and well disordered eating. She explains research that has been done reveals: “exposure to the thin-body ideal leads to temporary decreases in self-esteem and increases in body and weight dissatisfaction, depression, and anxiety. Leon Festinger, who has done much research on the topic of body image, found in his studies “that people are driven to evaluate themselves through comparison with others. ” (Harrison 80) As Festinger mentions, women judge themselves based on others expectations of them. Therefore, when women are constantly exposed to extremely thin, Photoshopped models in magazines, on the television, internet, and billboards, they begin to compare themselves to these images because the images are everywhere.
Since no one is able to look like these models women began to feel bad about themselves for not having this “beauty” that is unattainable. This lack in self-confidence leads to changes in mood as Harrison mentioned. Then mood escalates into bigger problems such as eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. The selection Body Image explains how the Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines eating disorders as a“serious disturbances in eating behavior” that typically comes with “feelings of distress or extreme concern about body shape or weight. (Retzinger 52-53) She then explains how a study done at the University of Minnesota found that girls who often read magazine articles about dieting are more likely, to participate in extreme weight-loss measures during adulthood, such as vomiting, rather than girls who never read articles of that nature. This clearly shows that exposure to images of models is effective towards women as well as young girls. In the article titled, Super-skinny models drive seven-year-olds into anorexia, Dr.
Jon Goldin is interviewed and explains how he has had a patients as young as 7, struggling with eating disorders due to the fashion trend of “stick thin models. ” In my opinion, this is sickening that even children are being affected and not only young women. his is exactly why the world needs to have good role models in the media. Women and “young girls, of course are especially vulnerable” (Kilbourne 591) and desperate for someone to look up to. And to have women that are in the media in the current society is very much indeed toxic to women as seen in these examples.
Although on the contrary, some argue that the media is not the lead causing factor of eating disorders. In an article called, Who’s To Blame For Anorexic Children ,Benjamin Radford interviews a couple of doctors and scientists. They believe that the media plays a much smaller role in eating disorders than what society believes. Dr. Bryant-Waugh states that: “Models and other society influences are, in our experience, rarely a contributory factor to the development of eating and weight difficulties in young children. Then Radford uses the example of the movie Black Swan, which includes a very underweight Natalie Portman and how the public thought this would bring an uproar of anorexia, however there hasn’t been any evidence to prove that factor quiet yet. While that may be true in part, several studies have proven that the media has a huge effect on women as far as eating disorders. Radford claimed anorexia/bulimia is a “biological illness” however eating disorders are rooted in self- image; therefore it is a psychological problem. Body image has been a problem for years and probably before the media was ever created.
However the media influences young girls’ perceptions of how they should look like. Rather than in the past where women didn’t have constant images of what they should be looking like. This is exactly why body image is a problem in current society. Women are constantly reminded that they are not living up to the expectations. Through this evidence, it is clearly shown that the modeling agency should be providing healthy and realistic role models to young women. Right now the modeling agency is lacking in that area. Instead woman are provided with unhealthy, thin and Photoshopped models.
In result to that, young girls and women are not being able to live up to these false expectations. From that comes terrible self-esteem, mood changes, depression, anxiety and of course anorexia/ bulimia. Now these are just a few of the many results. The way some of these models live their lives, is also a leading factor and should also be re-evaluated if young women are proven to look up to models. Just think about how many young women are dealing with bad relationships involving sex, drugs, alcohol and partying on top of self- esteem issues.
Young girls are very vulnerable and confused of who they are at the age where they are affected by the media the most. Therefore, that is the time when a good role model is needed in their life the most and society has failed to provide that with their unattainably perfect models. Works Cited Bessenoff, Gayle R. “Can the Media Affect Us? Social Comparison, Self-Discrepancy, and the Thin Ideal. ” Psychology of Women Quarterly (Sept. 2006): 239-251. ERIC. Web. 28 Nov. 2011. ;http://www. pierce. ctc. edu:2088/ 10. 1111/j. 1471-6402. 2006. 0292. x;. Brown, Amy, and Helga Dittmar. “Think Thin and Feel Bad: The Role of AppearanceSchema Activation, Attention Level and Thin-Ideal Internalization For YoungWomen’s Responses To Ultra-Thin Media Ideals” Journal of Social ; ClinicalPsychology 24. 8 (2005): 1088-1113. PDF file. Harrison, Kristen. “Body Image, Media Effect on. ” Encyclopedia of Communication andInformation. Ed. Jorge Reina Schement. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan ReferenceUSA, 2002. 79-81. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 1 Dec. 2011. Killing Us Softly 4. Jean Kilbourne.
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Ma. 2010. Film Kilbourne, Jean. “Two Ways A Woman Can Get Hurt. ” Rereading America. GaryColombo, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Boston and New York,Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010, pages 575-599, Print. Radford, Benjamin. “Who’s To Blame For Anorexic Children? ” Discovery News. N. p. , 9Aug. 2011. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. ;http://news. discovery. com/human -thin-modelsnot-to-blame-for-anorexia. html;. Retzinger, Jean. “Body Image. ” The Media. Ed. Robin Andersen and Jonathan Gray. Vol. 1. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008. 1-56. Battleground. Gale VirtualReference Library. Web. 1 Dec. 2011. “Super-skinny models drive seven-year-olds into anorexia. ” Daily Mail. N. p. Sept. 2006. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. ;http://www. dailymail. co. uk/news/article-405874/Superskinny-models-drive-seven-year-olds-anorexia. html;. Tiggemann, Marika, and Janet Polivy. “Upward and Downward: Social ComparisonProcessing of Thin Idealized Media Images. ” Psychology of Women Quarterly (Sept. 2010): 356-364. ERIC. Web. 28 Nov. 2011. ;http://www. pierce. ctc. edu:2088/10. 1111/j. 1471-6402. 2010. 1581. x;. Annotated Bibliography Retzinger, Jean. “Body Image. ” The Media. Ed. Robin Andersen and Jonathan Gray. Vol. 1. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008. 51-56 Battleground. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 25 Nov. 2011. This is a subject encyclopedia article. The article starts out explaining how people perceive their body image, and how it changes based on influences like the media. Then it briefly goes into the studies of average body weights in woman and models and how the history and culture of the body image conception came to be.
This article could be very useful for my research paper because it gives a simple explanation on my topic in a pretty broad topic, pointing out all the areas I was hoping to cover in this assignment. It already has given me a clear explanation on the controversy of my topic, therefore it is a great source. Jean Retzinger the author of this article is a professor at University of California Berkeley who teaches in the communications department so, this shows this would be a credible source because she knows facts and doesn’t just base an article off emotional opinions. Harrison, Kristen. Body Image, Media Effect on. ” Encyclopedia of Communication and Information. Ed. Jorge Reina Schement. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2002. 79-81. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 25 Nov. 2011 This is a subject encyclopedia article. This article focuses more so on eating disorders and how the media has caused that. They mention theories and research studies on both body image and eating disorders. This article is very useful because it goes more into depth on the effect of the media on woman’s body image and research shown through trends and history.
It gives me the distinction between body image and eating disorders which are two very different topics that I had not became aware of. This is a credible source because it includes many researchers’ names as well as theories that have great evidence to back it up as well as clear history. Brown, Amy, and Helga Dittmar. “Think Thin and Feel Bad: The Role of Appearance Schema Activation, Attention Level and Thin-Ideal Internalization For Young Women’s Responses To Ultra-Thin Media Ideals” Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology 24. 8 (2005): 1088-1113. PDF file.
This is a journal entry. This entry talks specifically on the further study of how thin media models have a negative impact on young women’s body image, looking deeper into how quickly it affects woman and the anxiety it brings by exposing 75 women to advertisements. This document will be useful to prove my opinion in the essay because it will bring recent scientific studies as facts to persuade. Also bringing facts based opinions to the essay to show further evidence. This journal is very credible because it is an experiment used with a large group of woman.
Not only is it one experiment but it is a further studied experiment to dig deeper. It also was written by two college professors at University of Sussex, England and they had cited credible sources and many of them. “Media Influence. ” Rader Programs. N. p. , n. d. Web. 20 Nov. 2011 <http://www. raderprograms. com/causes-statistics/media-eating-disorders. html>. This is a webpage document. It starts off with a brief introduction explaining the opinion on how the media has influenced problems such as anorexia and bulimia, and it then goes into lists of statistics on ieting, body image, models, and television and movies. Also it gives suggestions on how we can slowly change societies view. This site will be very useful for my paper because it provides many statistics rather than just a bunch of writing about a subject. This information however isn’t as high of credibility as the sources before mainly because there was many facts, but no written sources of where all these facts come from. Also there was no authors or names written down, just the website name. “Super-skinny models drive seven-year-olds into anorexia. ” Daily Mail.
N. p. Sept. 2006. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <http://www. dailymail. co. uk/news/article-405874/Super-skinny-models-drive-seven-year-olds-anorexia. html>. This is a webpage journal document. This article is about doctors, teachers and current models opinions on the waiflike models effect on young girls. This will be useful to my paper because it provides doctors opinions on how the media is effecting young women’s health, while also bringing current models who disagree with the whole waiflike look opinions and explanations of what they see behind the scenes.
This article has semi credibility because even though it brings opinions of a successful doctor, model and teacher, it is only includes 3 opinions. But if it was a larger group of opinions it would make the article much more credible. Radford, Benjamin. “Who’s To Blame For Anorexic Children? ” Discovery News. N. p. , 9 Aug. 2011. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. <http://news. discovery. com/human -thin-models-not-to-blame-for-anorexia. html>. This is a webpage journal document. This article was more so on how there is much more to eating disorders than just being the media’s fault.
The article included eating disorder expert’s quotes as well as current examples of how the media hasn’t affected woman as much as other factors like friends, family and the media. This article will be useful to my essay because it brings counter arguments to the table and shows opposing opinions to this topic. Under the article it included reader’s opinions and with reading that, it helped me to develop a good argument to this subject. This article has semi credibility because it is a very brief article and doesn’t go into much detail like the reference books do. However it does give brief quotes on researcher’s