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Essay The Portrayal of Body Image in the Media

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Societies standards for body shape and the importance of beauty is promoted by various media. The media links beauty to symbols of happiness, love and success for women. Media portrays these images as achievable and real. Until women accept their body image, they will continue to measure themselves against societies “perfect image.” Media representations of body image contribute to social trends of unhealthy lifestyles.

Female children learn to worry about their appearance from an early age. Huge quantities of girls between the ages of three and ten have one or more Barbie dolls. On television children are bombarded with commercials showing tall and thin women promoting dieting products and leading a “dream” life. Being exposed to numerous
“perfect” female images leads girls trying to defeat their imperfections into their adult life. Parental messages about appearance also have large impacts on young girls. In the Second Edition of Feminist Issues, Susan A. McDaniel comments: “For the female child, to be assessed as ‘pretty’ or ‘beautiful’ is the highest accolade, one that usually makes her parents proud…To be pretty is to be approved of, liked and rewarded.” She also mentions that in “infancy, females are judged by standards of ‘cuteness’ and ‘prettiness’ and this shifts with age into standards of ‘beauty’ and ‘glamour.” Parents of newborn babies tend to emphasise appearance more in girls than in boys.

Body image isn’t just about appearance. What girls feel about th...


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