Samples Sociology Media Effects on Body Image

Media Effects on Body Image

378 words 2 page(s)

Beauty ideal that exists in a society is a powerful force that dictates what do people strive for, what they are judged against, as well as what they consider beautiful. Even though the beauty standard is usually applied to all people, the creating of such a standard tends to be dictated by a narrow field of media production that often sets norms for various aspects of people’s everyday lives. Media set an unrealistic beauty and perfect body standards that cause most real people to feel inadequate and suffer substantial psychological distress even if their bodies are actually normal.

Media generates tons of content that becomes part of people’s daily lives and dictates their tastes, desires, and increasingly their believes about what is normal. Numerous studies have confirmed that people tend to adopt the beauty standards presented on the television shows and apply those to their real lives (Vitelli). This happens even if their standards significantly exceed what is actually normal in society from statistical and medical perspective. Namely, from watching TV, people learn to consider the body type that is below the normal weight as normal and desirable.
The adaptation of such unrealistic standards causes many people to measure themselves and others against it. This results in the vast majority of people feeling inadequate or bullied by peers because their body does not fit into the narrow standard set out by media. Such a disparity between reality and the dominant beauty ideal leads many people to suffer from depression, low self-esteem, and sometimes results in the development of anorexia and bulimia disorders.

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All in all, it should be recognized that TV shows we see do not just entertain us, they set a standard for how we should live, look, love, etc. Recognizing that extreme thinness presented by media as normal and desirable is unrealistic beauty standard is crucial to avoid feeling dissatisfied with oneself. In the long run, we as a society should make an effort to influence the media to adopt a more realist and representative portrayal of beauty and ideal bodies to minimize the negative effect of such portrayals on people and especially teenagers.

  • Vitelli, Romeo. “Media Exposure and The “Perfect” Body.” Psychology Today, Accessed 19 April 2018.