Television's Effect On Self Image Essay

1861 words - 8 pages

New mirrors are in the market and many homes have been remodeled with these mirrors. These new mirror are like snow whites mirror, they tell you who the most beautiful one of all is. A little girl is looking at her new mirror that tells her she has to wear makeup and look a certain way in order to be beautiful. This new mirror is the TV and the voice that is telling her is the media. The media portrays the beauty of women a certain way that is distorting beauty.
The media distorts image so much that women start to see an unrealistic beauty and think that all women should actually look that way. An experiment done by Mahler Beckerley and Vogel (2010) demonstrate that women’s attitudes ...view middle of the document...

One may ask themselves, is media really that powerful? In an experiment done by Carney and Louw (2006) examined the relationship between eating disordered behaviors and exposure to ideal-type media. These results showed that women obtained scores that indicated they were more ‘‘at risk’’ for anorexia nervosa than men, especially women with higher levels of media exposure. Heavy use of the media led participants to attempt a number of strategies to change their appearance to resemble those in the media. Since the beginning of media history, media has been empowering and limiting women in many ways. Hammer (2009) mentioned that myths, stereotypes, and controlling images are embedded in the cultural textbook of cinema and how women are disempowered and marginalized by these images.
Women today view their own body image in the way the stereotype of the media has portrayed “women” to be. The media alters the way everyone sees themselves and each other by simply changing the way we dress, look, and even how we act. Stereotypes, controlling images, and myths existing in all areas of society have helped establish norms (Hammer 2009). Kilbourne (1999) specifically examined how advertising influenced the developmental process in adolescents:
Advertisers are aware of their role and do not hesitate to take advantage of the insecurities and anxieties of young people, usually in the guise of offering solutions. A cigarette provides a symbol of independence. A pair of designer jeans or sneakers convey status. The right perfume or beer resolves doubt about femininity or masculinity. (p. 129)
This shows how the media teaches society what the norms are, what is acceptable, and what the roles for men and women are. The ads we see are everywhere; the media has us bombarded with ads in television, radio, papers, magazines, billboards, etc. Kilbourne (2000) says we spend 3 years of our lives watching television commercials- and that’s just television. She says that advertisement is the foundation of mass media, and that even though its primary purpose is to sell products it sells a great deal more. It sells values, images, concepts of love and sexuality, romance and success, and perhaps most importantly of normalcy. It tells us who we are, who we should be and what should be the most important – women’s appearance. They surround us with images of ideal female beauty so we learn how important it is for women to be beautiful. The images are flawless, making it impossible to reach. They make it impossible to reach this perfection through computer-generated programs where they alter the image to fit the ideal female beauty image. Conversely, what if we found a way to stop the media from giving negative habits to our society. Would putting labels on advertisements stop women from having dissatisfaction with their own body image? Slater, Tiggemann, Firth, and Hawkins (2012) stated that Policy makers across a number of Western countries have suggested that...

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