How Does the Media Impact Youth's Body Image and Self Esteem? Student ID Number & Code Date Total Number of Words: 1,695 Introduction Developing a positive self-esteem is important as its affects how each person feels about their self worth…
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Media includes the use of billboards, fashion designers, films, television, magazines, movies, newspapers, videos, radio, and websites. Due to excessive mass media exposure, there is a risk wherein the youth may or may not feel good about their body image (van Vonderen & Kinnally, 2012). In relation to the adverse psychological effects of mass media with regards to how a person feels about himself, this study aims to prove that mass media can either create a positive or negative impact over the youth’s body image and self esteem. Applicable to both male and female, this study will gather some peer-reviewed evidences to explore how mass media exposure could affect a child perception about what an ideal body is all about. Thesis Statement Either positive or negative, the media has a significant impact on youth’s body image and self-esteem. Literature Review A child is able to develop an ideal feminine beauty and a universally accepted masculinity through mass media exposure (van Vonderen & Kinnally, 2012; Dittmar, 2009; Barlett, Vowels, & Saucier, 2008). Since the ideal masculine and feminine figure has been continuously portrayed in the media, the young adults are either consciously or unconsciously exerting too much effort to make their body image fit in either the ideal masculine or feminine figure (Nikkelen, Anschutz, & Ha et al., 2012; Dittmar, 2009; Barlett, Vowels, & Saucier, 2008). In relation to a strong identity, there is a link between having high levels of self esteem and a positive body image. Based on what the media is portraying, the ideal female body should be sexy, underweight, ultra-thin and lean whereas the ideal male body should be show a lot of muscles (Nikkelen et al., 2012; van Vonderen & Kinnally, 2012; Dittmar, 2009; Hobza & Rochlen, 2009; Barlett, Vowels, & Saucier, 2008). Aside from having lots of muscles, Hobza and Rochlen (2009) mentioned that a typical body image for men is often characterized by a having a lean and fit body image. As a result of stereotyping the ideal body image of men and women, people are unconsciously creating a new set of cultural standards with regards to the ideal body image. It means that more adolescent girls are developing the wrong belief that being extremely thin is the only way for them to become famous and socially accepted by other people (van Vonderen & Kinnally, 2012; Robles, 2009). Therefore, the number of unsatisfied and depressed youth increases over time. It is wrong to believe that the media can only affect the young adolescent girls when it comes to body image and self esteem. In the process of trying to make them fit in the universally accepted body image, a lot of men and women are becoming totally dissatisfied with their own body image (van Vonderen & Kinnally, 2012; Barlett, Vowels, & Saucier, 2008). The only differences between men and women is that men’s visual attention when watching another man’s body image on mass media is totally different from how women’s visual attention is being caught by the media images (Nikkelen et al., 2012). This explains why more adolescent girls are affected by the media when it comes to appreciating their own body image. Even though it is more common for the adolescent girls to feel depressed, unhappy and unsatisfied with their body image as compared to the adolescent boys, the fact that there are some adolescent boys who are consciously becoming
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