HI, im writing a paper on the negative effects of the media on girls. It is suppose to be a persuasive research paper
Is there anything i should add/delete. Please feel free to leave any suggestions. THANKS :)Final Research Paper: The Media's Negative Effects on Girls
What is beauty? Is it having a skinny body, a blemish free face, and long blonde hair? For some girls it is. Beauty is a main concern for many girls, especially as they are growing up and going through adolescents. They admire women in magazines and on television, dreaming to be just like them. Unfortunately, what they do not realize is that no one has the perfect smile, perfect skin, or perfect hair.
The media puts forth an image of beauty that is unattainable. They do this by showing unhealthy stick-thin girls with "flaw-less" attributes. In the sick world of marketing, the companies that produce an item to sell, such as make up, depend on the insecurities of females. The companies use thin girls with a perfect complexion and a killer smile to flaunt around with the product they are trying to sell. When girls see this, they think to themselves, "Oh I wish I looked like that." or "This is how I should look, the way I look right now isn't right." Because we only display thin girls in our media, girls feel as if that is how they should be. The media negatively influences girls' perception of body image, which can cause eating disorders and low self-esteem.
There have been plenty of studies linked to the negative impacts of body image caused by the media. Here is an example of one study found on thebodyproject.com, "In 1999, Anne Becker and Rebecca Burwell of the Harvard Eating Disorders Center found that media exposure dramatically increased the incidence of eating disorders in the island nation of Fiji. The researchers chose to study Fiji both before and after the introduction of Western television programming to the nation. Before Western TV arrived, most Fijians subscribed to traditional ideas of beauty: larger bodies, bodies that would be classified as obese in the West, were considered the most attractive. Large bodies were seen as evidence of a person's health and high status; slim bodies were thought to look sickly, and were seen as indications that the person suffered from a lack of food and/or a lack of friends and loved ones to support them. Only three years after the introduction of Western (mainly US, UK and Australian) TV programs, the number of girls and women who reported vomiting to control their weight increased five-fold. 74% of girls reported feeling "too fat," and 62% reported dieting in the last month. And furthermore, girls who watched more television were more likely to evaluate their bodies negatively. Interviews with the girls and young women demonstrated that they were attempting to emulate the thin Western actresses they saw on television." This gives you an image of just how powerful the effect of media is. Within three years, the media antagonized the traditional larger bodies of the Fijians from the symbol of wealth, to the sign of unattractiveness.
According to Sarah Grogan, the author of the Body Image book, western society generally associates slenderness with happiness, success, youthfulness, and social acceptability. Being overweight is linked to laziness, the lack of will power, and being out of control (Grogan, 6). With the media portraying thin models on TV it is easier for us to make that association. According to an article entitled "How does Today's Advertising Impact on Your Body Image?" Advertisements emphasize thinness as a standard for female beauty, and the bodies idealized in the media are frequently atypical of normal, healthy women. In fact, today's fashion models weigh twenty-three percent less than the average female. Sixty-nine percent of girls in one study said that models influence their idea of the perfect body shape. With girls looking up to the thin models and women on TV, it only seems natural for girls to want to look like their TV idol. Girls try to look like their idol on TV, however the more they try, the more disappointed they become with their body image. According to Kidshealth.org, body image is how you view your physical self - including whether you feel you are attractive and whether others like your looks. More and more girls are becoming unhappy with the way they look because they do not look the way that models on TV look. This not only makes girls feel as if they have to be thin to be beautiful it also leads them to believe they have flaws, instigating girls to view themselves in a negative manner. Because we only show thin people on TV, girls feel the pressure to achieve society's version of female beauty, and when they cannot, they feel unattractive and it often leads to negative consequences such as eating disorders and depression.
Self-esteem is all about how much people value themselves, the pride they feel in themselves, and how worthwhile they feel. Self-esteem is important because feeling good about yourself can affect how you act. A person who has high self-esteem will make friends easily, is more in control of his or her behavior, and will enjoy life more. Unfortunately, because of the way that people portray girls in the media as thin flaw-less models, girls feel as if they have to measure up to that. Although some forms of media are trying to challenge the current standard of beauty such as the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, which uses women of all ages, colors, and shapes to advertise it products, it is not enough because according to cleancutmedia, sixty-two percent of girls feel insecure about themselves.
The most common justification of the current standard of beauty is that it promotes health by encouraging people not to be overweight, however what people do not realize is that according to the South Carolina department of mental health, seven million women in America have an eating disorder. When girls see the image of thin girls on TV, the dissatisfaction with their bodies causes any women to strive for the thin ideal. This leads to negative body image and in order to combat their negative body image, they resolve to go on diets, which unfortunately lead to eating disorders. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is when one participates in self-starvation in the fear of being fat. Because many models and actresses are so thin, it makes anorexics think their skinny bodies are normal. Bulimia nervosa is when a person overeats, which is then followed by a feeling of guilt or shame, which then leads to reactions such as crash dieting, doing a lot of exercise, and purging.
The damaging power of the media is a growing problem, not only in the U.S., but in many other countries too, and in order to change the current standard of beauty from thin flaw-less women to women of all sizes, shapes, and colors, we must start from within. In order to combat the negative effects of media on girls, we must emphasize mental growth. By encouraging girls to try new things, it can give them a sense of accomplishment. This can increase girls' self-esteem. Realizing that the models we see on TV are airbrushed and retouched is another way girls' can help improve their self-esteem as well as their body image. Because girls realize that girls' on TV and in magazines have been retouched and edited, they will feel more secure knowing that not even they people on TV look the way they look on TV. According to Grogan, changes need to be made at the level of the individual in order to reform our views of the girls' on the media. Women and girl should reject traditional media conceptions of body image completely. Wendy Chakis argues that women need to reject traditional cultural ideals and celebrate the "natural body". This means that girls need to accept the fact that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.