The media is very influential. The messages and the images transmitted by the media have a lot of impact on the lives of human being. Television, radio and internet are very powerful tools that shape how human beings make decisions and respond to issues in their environment. There are various portrayals in the media that lead to subjective perceptions and judgments. The formation of judgmental attitudes towards a person or a thing prematurely is called stereotyping and the media has played a big role in promoting stereotypes. Stereotypes tend to generalize and lump all the people or things together after few observations. Some of the stereotypes usually portrayed in the media include women body size, masculinity, white superiority and black inferiority. How has the media through its images and messages affected the concept of women body size?
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Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so the adage goes. Personalities like Tyra Banks, Pamela Anderson, Beyonce Knowles and Carmen Electra are the epitome of beauty. Very many women and girls would like to look like them. Unfortunately, many girls and women are hurting themselves trying to look like the aforementioned celebrities and sex symbols popularized through TV advertising. The media presents the society with unrealistic body types. Through Numerous TV shows and commercials, magazines the media tries, though indirectly to enforce certain body types which women definitely emulate. This has really affected the health and the eating habits of women around the world and especially, the United States of America. Women who tend to focus on the body types projected by the media usually have low self-esteem and are highly likely to be victims of eating disorders. The media through its advertising images and messages is responsible for the development of the image problems that women are facing in contemporary society. When women start looking at the body types being projected in the commercials and magazines, they start feeling insecure. They, therefore, adopt dangerous dieting habits driven by the huge intrinsic pressure to look like the perfect women with perfect body sizes promoted by the media. Is the media to blame for the health and image problems affecting women in America and the rest of the world? Though the media has projected these images that have affected body size perceptions, women are to blame for the choices they make. The problem is not the media. The problem is women themselves. The media has to use these images for their advertising to be effective. The media does not force the women to copy what they see or to adopt the image projected by the commercials.
One of the roles of the media is to promote products. Its main source of revenue is advertising. The media has to use the most efficient methods possible. The media sometimes uses seductive messages because they are efficient in promoting certain products. A magazine in the racks with the cover adorning beautiful and sexy women is highly likely to sell more than just a plain magazine and that is the hallmark of advertising. The media doesn’t use plump women in their commercials and this one tends to have an effect on the not-so-slim women who become insecure because they think that the body image is portrayed in the media is the standard one. However, the women fail to realize that the projections in the media are miles away from reality because they do not reflect everyday real-life situations. It’s almost impossible to find the images projected in the media in a real-life setting which means that women are doing themselves a great injustice trying to fit in the body types of a very small portion of the society just because they have been used in media advertising. Some women may be having the perfect body and weight but just because they do not resemble that model in the Chrysler advert or that seventeen-year-old movie star on the cover of a magazine, they start feeling insecure this leads to poor diet habits as they attempt to attain the body shape of the models used in advertising.
However, the media is partly to blame for the health and image issues affecting women in modern society. What the media presents is purely fantastic and the line between reality and fantasy is over being skewed by the media. The media influences society to pay significant attention to body image, sexuality, physical attractiveness and appearance, relegating other important lifestyle factors like morality, discipline and healthy diet to the sidelines. Instead of portraying images of morality, wellness and success that may be beneficial to the lives of women and the society at large, the media forces women to live hollow lives, spending their time and dime trying to achieve the supermodel figure, but what women fail to realize is that there is more to beauty and success in life than just physical appearance that may even be deceptive. The most important issues in life have been relegated to the periphery and the focus is now on the media and the next image it will project so that women can take the road and try to fit in the image. It is horrifying that the woman in society is getting thinner and thinner as they attempt to imitate what they see on the television. They fail to understand that some of these images are not real; some of them are computer-generated to create the ideal bodies that the media portrays. Women are deluded by these images and spend their lifetime trying to achieve the ideal image to the detriment of their health, their well-being and their other realms of life that may be more important to their lifelong success than the elusive physical appearance.
This situation is complicated because as long as people are using various forms of media, It is hard to escape the influence of the media. To start with, the TV is a ubiquitous gadget that one cannot do without. Some of the highly-rated shows and commercials are usually having tall and thin actresses, like friends and Ally Mc Beal. These characters are portrayed as people leading good lives full of fun. In Ally Mc Beal the successful lawyer is a thin actress. The media doesn’t send a direct message here, but it will definitely influence someone using this image. A Woman will have an attitude that for them to lead good lives full of fun, or for them to be successful as the characters on TV, they must have the physical appearance of the successful girls they see on TV. What women fail to realize that this is just fantasy? This is acting and not real life. They do not know about the real lives of these women. Maybe they are more miserable than their audience is, maybe they have been forced to adopt those body types so that they can fit their roles in theatre and advertising. This is where the biggest fallacy lies in; the failure to distinguish the real and the ideal. If there are people facing real-life troubles, it is these public figures that people see on TV and start emulating. These people may appear to be successful in public, but in private, most of them are pathetic failures, battling with all manners of life issues. This means that when a woman feels insecure because she doesn’t look like that supermodel on the cover of an erotic magazine or that actor being portrayed to be having a good life, then that woman is dwelling on the superficial, missing the various goodies that the inner beauty presents to them.
In conclusion, the media is here to stay and will continue sending messages and using images that will influence its audience. The influence is either positive or negative. It is important for people to be influenced by the beneficial images and messages on the media for them to lead quality lives. It is also important that people draw a line between fantasy and reality because most of the images that the media portrays are ideal and cannot work in real-life settings. Women are therefore to blame for the image crisis that they have been facing because they have failed to make the correct choices and have let the media dictate their life.
Society is in deep trouble because of the failure to detach the real from the ideal. The problem is that people have idolized the TV and the media so much that it has become the marking scheme of life. Psychologists are warning that in some years to come, life will be entirely based on what the media projects especially now that the children are growing up under the tutelage of the TV and the mass media. This means that the consciousness about the body image can start as early as six. When the children look at the TV characters as what society expects of them, then the children start forming stereotypes at a very young age especially when the heavy people are derided in comedies and TV shows. The children will start looking down upon the heavy people because they of what they see on TV and they will do anything not to be like the stooge character on TV. When the thin people are given high-class roles in the movies and TV shows, the children will have an assumption that the most important roles in society are played by people who are thin and what happens is that a mentality is put in the young minds which in turn affects their eating habits and wellness. This leads to the development of eating disorders very early in life. This is because Hollywood has made them feel inadequate very tender age.
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