Whether through newspapers, magazines, or television, the media dictates a sense of what people are supposed to look like. Because of this influence, the media plays a strong role in shaping the public’s perception of what the perfect body should be.
The media is often cited as a bad influence when it comes to the idea of body image. The media exemplifies certain body figures over others. For example, fashion models are shown as ideal symbols of masculinity or femininity, even when models’ body weight may approach unhealthy levels.
Media studies in the 1990s saw a huge increase in eating disorders, especially among young women. One central reason reported by the women included their dissatisfaction with body image. When asked why they felt dissatisfied, most of the women cited the fact that they regularly compared their own bodies to models, media figures and actresses, reported writer Bernie DeGroat on the website University Record Online.
Many magazines write negative stories about media figures who have gained weight and celebrate famous persons who have lost weight. Movies and television programs seldom show actors or actresses that may be considered overweight.
References and ResourcesSomething Fishy: The Media
The University Record Online: Media influence eating disorders
Media Awareness Network: Beauty and Body Image in the Media