Media’s Negative Effect On Beauty Image For Women Essay

Women these days are constantly being reminded of who is beautiful and what defines beauty. The media and beauty industries have an imperative role in their advertising to promote impossible standards of beauty in society. Many studies have been done to show the effects of the media on beauty image for women. These studies show the effect of media on women today by noting the increasing rate of plastic surgery and how the media negatively affect the woman’s selfimage.

In 2008 a report that was prepared by the Young Woman’s Christian Association (YWCA) titled “Beauty at Any Cost,” the report stated that the beauty industry is a 7 billion dollar business, that there are 11. 7 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures combined. The reports also stated that these figures represent an alarming increase of 500% of such procedures in the last ten years (Beauty at Any Cost 2008, p. 3&7). The women themselves feel that they are more attractive and have more self-confidence by using make-up than without using make-up.

Depending on the circumstances, women will apply makeup differently for different situations for increasing their self-esteem. Thomas Cash, a clinical and research psychologist for over 35 years discussed this issue in one of his studies titled “Effects of Cosmetics Use on the Physical Attractiveness and Body Image of American College Women. ” In his article, Cash reported that “individuals often actively control and modify their physical appearance and physical aesthetics across situations within relatively brief periods of time” (Cash, Dawson, & Davis, 1989, p. 49).

Mass media such as television, magazines, radio, cinema, and the internet all have had a great impact on a person’s perception of their body image, on a person’s ideal of beauty, the associated disorder of when a person has a low self-esteem of their image such an eating attitudes and overall behavior in females. There have been discussions by researchers regarding how the media portrays us to what is beauty and thereby causing a person to be dissatisfied with their appearance, their weight and eating habits. (Levine&Murnen, 2009).

The researchers have revealed as to what is considered beauty for women and teenage girls, and what standard they are using that complements what the media has used to define the beauty. In turn, they will use those standards as a means for evaluating their own level and rating of beauty. These women and teenage girls will then seek to achieve those standards so that family, peers and even strangers will be pleased with their appearance. (O’Brien et al. , 2009; Thompson, Heinberg, et al. , 1999). The media affects women in so many ways.

In a body image and media study by Heinberg and Thompson (1995), they found that the media’s portrayal of how thin and glamorous a women should be, and that portrayal of those standards are psychologically affecting women’s mood because they are feeling that they will not be able to obtain that “beautiful body. ” In addition, that Stice & Shaw (1994) wrote a magazine article regarding weight loss, diets and how an increase in exercising has contributed to the pressure of meeting the media’s standards as to what is consider beauty and how thin a person should be.

This attitude of women has been a catalyst of eating disorders increasing among women and for women to seek changes to their bodies by subjecting themselves to painful surgeries just to change their appearance. The media illustrate ideal women’s body image in magazines, TV commercials, movies, and pop-up ads, etc. Several studies have shown that there are many ways in which a woman’s body image, eating patterns, and selfesteem is negatively affecting what audiences see and hear from the media. In 1996, an article titled, “Body Image: A Cognitive Self-Schema Construct, by Altabe and Thompson, ndicates that “social endorsements” are inherent in how the media is portraying the “ideal body. ” This has created a sense in women to examine the image of their body to determine if they need to radically alter their eating habits in order to offset that undesirable body. This, in turn, may have led to eating disorder. Also, Heinberg and Thompson (1995) indicated that females who were exposed to appearance-related media were less satisfied with their body shape than females who were exposed to non-appearance related images.

The media portrays women in an unrealistic way. Female models in the media are mostly skinny, tall, and have nicely shaped breast. Society and culture have followed media perception of the “ideal women” body and persuaded women to excessively diet and submit to unnecessary cosmetic surgery. A great deal of capital is made by women purchasing beauty products to attain that image. Women’s self-esteem may decrease by viewing what is broadcasted on television, what is illustrated in a magazine or displayed on billboards.

The thin and unrealistic models are relenting. In addition, to that false ideal body image negatively influence women, these have and may lead some women to clinical eating disorder behaviors and constant plastic surgery. Bloom, Gitter, Gutwill, Kogel, and Zaphiropoulos (1999) reported that a woman’s value lies in her beauty. In their article, they wrote, “woman that they are nothing without their looks. ” Unfortunately, women succumb to those beliefs by responding to what the media has portrayed as what beauty should be.

Therefore, the frustration woman’s perception of having a negative body will surface. The media’s image of the “ideal body” for women has been a discussion for years and possibly for centuries. Although the ideal body shape and size have constantly changed over the years, women have always tried to attain that ideal body for themselves and for others by following media ideal and standards. The pursuit of that image for women and teenage girls has driven them to starve themselves, wear excessive makeup and obtain expensive unnecessary plastic surgery.