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Essay on The Effects of Media on the Body-Image of Preadolescent Girls

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The Effects of Media on the Body-Image of Preadolescent Girls
Media is infamous for having a tremendous effect on teenage girls. The mass media have long been criticized for presenting unrealistic appearance ideals that contribute to the development of negative body image for many women and girls (Harrison & Hefner, 2006). Whether it’s the influence on their choice of friends, school, or their self image, media has played an important role in affecting those decisions. A growing number of experimental studies have demonstrated a causal link between acute exposure to "thin-ideal" images (i.e., images of impossibly thin and attractive female beauty) and increased body dissatisfaction (Hargreaves & Tiggemann, 2003). It has recently been brought up that media influences girls in preadolescence, which is highly likely since most young girls idolize Barbie (Rintala & Mustajoki, 1992). “Were Barbie a flesh-and-blood woman, her waist would be 39% smaller than that of anorexic patients, and her body weight would be so low that she would not be able to menstruate” (Rintala & Mustajoki, 1992). Most young girls wish that they could look like Barbie when they grew up, but if they knew the reality of having her measurements their perceptions would probably change. Children frequently fantasize about who they will be, what they will do, and how they will look when they grow into adulthood.
Advertisers use women that are abnormally thin, and even airbrush them to make them appear thinner. These advertisers promote a body image that is completely unrealistic and impossible to achieve (Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2006b). It has been instilled in these advertisers’ minds that a thinner model will sell more (Hargreaves & Tiggemann, 2003). Media has a direc...


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...young girls: A prospective study. Developmental Psychology, 42(5), 929-936.
Hargreaves, D.A., & Tiggemann, M. (2003). Female "thin ideal" media images and boys' attitudes toward girls. Sex roles, 49(9/10), 539-544.
Harrison, K., & Hefner, V. (2006). Media exposure, current and future body ideals, and disordered eating among preadolescent girls: A longitudinal panel study. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35(2), 146-156.
McCabeLina, M.A., & Ridge, A.R. (2006). "Who thinks I need a perfect body?" Perceptions and internal dialogue among adolescents about their bodies. Sex Roles, 55(5-6), 409-419.
National Eating Disorder Association (2006). The media, body image, and eating disorders. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
Rintala, M., & Mustajoki, P. (1992). Could mannequins menstruate? British Medical Journal, 305, 1575–1576.


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