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Running head: BODY IMAGE AND THE MEDIA 1

Body Image and The Media

Eng. 102

Yazmin Alatorre

Arizona State University


BODY IMAGE AND THE MEDIA 2

Abstract

This paper will be an explanatory paper on how body image has a been being shown to the

public. There will be 3 major topics that will be discussed in this paper, how body image is being

portrayed, body shame, self-esteem, and health issues. There will also be a mention on different

points of view throughout the paper from many experts as well.

Keywords: Social media, body image, health issues, body shame, self-esteem.
BODY IMAGE AND THE MEDIA 3

Body Image and The Media

What effects does social media and specific body image have towards the public? Social

media and body image have been both a controversial topic when in cooperation with each other.

Some images that companies use, people take a negative response regarding the ads that are

being displayed. Many companies use models with similar body structure, this can be identified

as being repetitive. By doing this, females come with a mentality of having to achieve the body

physique to fit in or attracted attention. While some campaigns are starting to display women

with different body structure, often time this works but most of the times it does not. This can

lead many people to think about how they look and feel with their body which can lead to people

doing some extreme dieting leading to eating disorders.

In recent conversation about how body image is being showed to the public, one

important issue out of many is the effects it has on people. When it come to talking about body

image there are three major subtopics that also play a role in this situation, body image, self-

esteem, and body shamming. Where this argument usually ends, however, is on the question on

how this really effects people. While some are convinced that body shaming is bad and that

something should be done about it, yet others believe that there can be some good out of this

issue.

On the other hand, “Communication Monograph” has said that there can be some positive

in this situation. For example, Russell B. Clayton states that there have been many important

campaigns that have been spreading body positivity to show to the public that plus-size women

have made it to the modeling industry and that everyone is unique in their own way and that they

should embrace it. There has been the use of different hashtags to spread body positivity, to

encourage women to feel good with one’s body. Studies show that by utilizing plus-size models,
BODY IMAGE AND THE MEDIA 4

this can improve the way they see each other, “For instance, Halliwell and Dittmar found

advertisements depicting average size models resulted in participants reporting less body-focused

anxiety relative to depictions of thin size models” (Communication Monograph, 2017). On the

other hand, “Social media and body image concerns: further consideration and broader

perspective” has stated that there has been a lot of media exposer to many young girls through

the internet. “For example, via the internet young women may be exposed to a higher dose of

body images, which are available anytime and everywhere, and this may lead to more body

dissatisfaction” (Robert William, 2014).

One expert that agrees with “Social media and body image concerns: further

consideration and broader perspective” is “Body image as an everyday problematic”. They have

also stated that by seeing these models that have similar physiques it can cause a mental change

in a person’s mind, “My primary aim in this introduction is to propose an initial approximation

to body image as a social problem” (Martinez, F. D.2017). Other experts that have agreed with

“Social media and body image concerns: further consideration and broader perspective” and

“Body image as an everyday problematic” are “Eating behavior: disorder eating, socio-cultural-

media influencers, body image, and psychological factors among a racially/ethnically diverse

population of college women.” They were focused more on how college students see themselves

when comparing to other students. How some see fit people and try to lose the “overweight” they

must fit in a specific group, how other racial/ethnic groups have a higher risk of developing an

eating disorder.

“Social media effects on young women’s body image concerns: Theoretical perspective

and an agenda for research” focus was how social media can affect the way young teens see

themselves and how this can lead to lower self-esteem, depression, perfectionism, internalization
BODY IMAGE AND THE MEDIA 5

of the thinness ideal, and centrality of appearance to self-worth. “Social comparison on social

media: the impact of Facebook on young women’s body image concerns and mood” ties up with

“Social media effects on young women’s body image concerns: Theoretical perspective and an

agenda for research” because not only does this article mention some of the same ideas as the

previous article but also how one social media platform that is used by millions can have an

effect on people. In this study they also agree how seeing a thin model can lead to people have

negative mood changes towards oneself, which can lead to depression and lower a person’s self-

esteem.

In “Influence of mass media on body image and eating disorders attitudes and behaviors

in female: a review of effects and processes” it mentions the relationship between media and

body image and how this can be associated to body dissatisfaction. It states how ads tend to have

a high rate in body dissatisfaction, how certain television shows can lead to an eating disorder.

“In brief, findings from experimental studies indicate that exposure to images of the thin beauty

ideal featured in the media—and particularly in magazines, television shows and commercials—

increases body dissatisfaction, internalization of thin ideal, and disordered eating behaviors and

beliefs. Effect sizes are small to moderate” (Gemma Lopez-Guimera, 2010).

Other articles that agree that media has an impact in body image are “The relationship

between body and self-esteem” and “Am I fat? Helping young children accept difference in body

size”. These two articles focus on figuring out the relationship between self-esteem and body

image and how to help people understand that it is ok do be a different size. They both agree that

body image has become a big issue in society.

“Can the media affect us? Social comparison, self-discrepancy, and the thin ideal”,

“Negotiating a media effects model: addendum and adjustment to Perloff’s framework for social
BODY IMAGE AND THE MEDIA 6

media’s impact on body image concerns”, “Act 2: Extending theory on social media and body

image concerns”, “The Effect of Thin Ideal Media Images on Women’s Self-Objectification,

Mood, and Body Image”, “Broadening the Scope of Social Media Effect Research on Body

Image Concerns”, and “Research Direction in social media and body image” all agree with how

the relationship between media and body image have a negative affect on society. How it can

cause eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, lower self-esteem, body dissatisfaction,

emotional stress, and many other problems.

In conclusion these articles all have different things to say but in a similar way. This can

lead many people to think about how they look and feel with their body which can lead to people

doing some extreme dieting leading to eating disorders. Most stated the same facts and argued

the same topics, all agree on that same ideas except for one, “Communication monograph”. This

article states some positive outcome on the relationship on body image and the media, and how it

can be used to improve the problem between the two.


BODY IMAGE AND THE MEDIA 7

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