Pop Culture’s Effect on Body Image

By Shelby Hoover

The website advertising this product says “One must try them out and see how sexy they will make you feel.”

The average person does not look like the people above. On occasion, you’ll find someone who looks close to the models portrayed on the media, but more often than not, these people are ordinary people who are digitally altered. The problem with this idea of digital alteration is that it is becoming more difficult to see the boundaries between what is real and what is imagined. What is possible, and what is impossible to acquire through looks.

The video below, which was created by Dove, shows the problems with the advertiser’s need to distort reality. Young women don’t see the original model, they only see the finished result, making them feel self conscious about their inability to look exactly like the models that they see in advertisements. Its a problem.

Another reason woman, both young and old, suffer from body image issues is because of everything they see on Television. The average person views 400-600 advertisements a day. Most of these advertisements, use sexuality or appeal to sell their product. Doing things like showing pretty women getting even prettier looking men because they used some product. There are also many advertisements about weight loss products, and these aren’t even safe half the time. None are approved by the FDA, (except Alli, and that hasn’t been studied long enough to prove 100% safe) and yet, it is always a slim woman advertising them, making women feel pressured to buy.

According to the statistics from an article posted in an Online Newspaper called The Sun,     “In 1995, just as television was introduced, researchers found that only 3% of 17-year-old girls reported that they had vomited to control their weight. Three years later, this figure jumped to 15%.
 The girls who watched television at least 3 nights a week were 50% more likely than others to see themselves as too fat, and 30% more likely to diet, although the frequent television watchers were not more overweight.”

Girls now start dieting at ages as young as 9 years old and by the age of 13, have a higher risk of developing an eating disorder. But can you blame them? Look at their role models. Popular actresses and pop stars such as Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton and the Olsen twins all have some sort of problem. One is jumping in and out of rehab, while another is anorexic, etc. These are the people that girls grow up watching and idolizing.

But it isn’t just girls either. Look at what men have to compete with. According to researchers at harvard University Med School, up to 25% of adults with eating disorders are male. Can you blame them? Look at their role models. They learn from media that women want men who wear axe cologne, and have washboard abs and nice hair. They have just as much pressure. Both men and women are being pressured to do the same thing, buy the products that will make them look how the media says they should look. What the media says will make them most attractive to the opposite (or same) sex. Its more than a little bit ridiculous.

The media is making it really hard for people to be individual, we spend a lot of our time judging ourselves based on someone else’s idea of perfection. Advertisers need to realize that there is a difference between beauty and digital alteration.

About psupopa

I like to run.
This entry was posted in Section 2, Student Posts, Winter 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

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