Essay on The Affect of Media Beauty Standards on Women's Self Esteem

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The Affect of Media Beauty Standards on Women's Self Esteem

In the daily fight for the emancipation of women and the pressures and influence of advertising, women of all ages are coerced into physical and psychological self-torment trying to achieve an optimum look or image. This is something not limited to a few. One can see the work of television advertisers in high schools everyday as girls wear the same clothing, makeup and accessories as their favorite stars. They may also try to imitate models they see in teen magazines. While it is fairly obvious that such a phenomenon exists, what is not so obvious are the detrimental effects.

One question looms large. Is self-esteem affected by media? Many think it is. Morant (2000) reports on the BMA's findings that media should take more responsibility. A report was done about body image and the media and calls for a more realistic range of body types (2000). Council Chairman Dr. Ian Bogle claimed that there is a cult of
"bodily perfection" that is perpetuated by media (2000). Recommendations include a policy regarding the use of thin women in advertisements and school programs to teach media literacy (2000). Many girls watch television and see women who by most standards would be considered underweight. While that may be the case, these waifs are symbols of beauty and so few question whether they look good or are healthy. Rather, girls question why they themselves are not also pencil thin. This can affect self-esteem.

Tessa Jowell, minister for women, said: "Young women are tired of feeling second rate because they cannot match the thin ideal that they see so often in the media. For many, poor body image can lead to low levels of self esteem; for some it is far more dangerou...

... middle of paper ... follow and so the media needs to take more responsibility for their actions.


Holsey, S. (1996, July 30). Former rapper disenchanted with rap's direction. Michigan Chronicle, p. PG.

Morant, H. (2000). BMA demands more responsible media attitude on body image.

Pipher, M. Reviving Ophelia : Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls (Ballantine Reader's Circle). Ballantine Books, 1995.

Thiruchandran, S. (1994). Major Trends of Feminist Approach. Contemporary Women's Issues Database, 11-21.

Vargas, J. (1996). Expanding the popular culture debates: Puertorriquenas, Hollywood, and cultural identity. Studies in Latin American Popular Culture, 15, 155173.

Wolf, N. (1994). Fire With Fire. Fawcett Book Group .
Wolf, N. (1992). The Beauty Myth; Doubleday; Company, Incorporated.

Douglas, Susan J. (1994) Where the Girls Are. Epilogue

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