Media Controls Our Body Image!
by rmari3 on November 11, 2013 - 3:36pm
Growing up in a technologically advanced society has been proven to have some disadvantages. There has been an increasingly large concern over the past decade, on what media has done to people’s self-confidence and their body image. Usually when this topic is studied researchers just look at women, but Steve H. Sohn takes a closer look at both men and women. No one may ever figure out the perpetrator for the socially created ideal body image, but there is no question about it that media reinforces the images of skinny women and masculine men every day. Sohn focuses on the media’s inﬂuence on people’s body perception, satisfaction, and social comparison as well as the outcomes from these influences such as eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem. What the media does is it produces unrealistic images that are nearly impossible to attain, and forcing us to believe we should look like that. Therefore, this produces the distance between our actual self-perception and our ideal self, which can lead to the effects. The research was designed in such a way that participants were asked multiple questions related to different subjects related to body image, and the assessor would rate them on a point scale. For example, when testing social comparison to media images the surveyors would measure participants on a 5 point, nine item scale. Research showed that among the 134 participants, females are directly impacted by social comparisons to people in magazines and TV shows which decreases both their body perception and body satisfaction. What were really interesting were the findings among the male participants. The findings suggest, they did not ﬁnd a signiﬁcant effect of social comparison on men’s body perceptual gap but managed to ﬁnd its direct inﬂuence on men’s body satisfaction. From the findings of this research many theoretical conclusions can be made. One conclusion of the results for the men’s findings was that it was facilitated by the fact of the level of involvement with media, rather than it directly impacting them.
I like this article a lot because it just goes to show how media directly impacts women in a negative way but also takes a look at men. The evidence showed that women are directly negatively impacted and from first-hand experience I very much agree with the results. It hasn’t been easy growing up, as a girl, when everywhere you look the media shoves in your face what ideally women should look like. Models, actresses, and even toys have all portrayed the skinny, perfectly structured image. But what we have to remember is that it is physical impossible to replicate them because the media mechanically alters the photos. The main purpose of this article is to look closely at media’s influence on women and men and if it effects people’s body perception, satisfaction and social comparison. As the media continues to reinforce the idea of what is a perfect female body and a perfect male body then we will continue to see women’s self-image perception decrease. The main assumption is that if we continue with this research we then can find how mass media influence both men’s and women’s body image differently and further figure out a way to decrease the level of body dissatisfaction. However, this can lead to implications that just media images are the sole cause of decreasing people’s body perception, satisfaction, and social comparison. The authors research focused on, if and what ways the media effects men and women. What she fails to explore is if men are not as affected as women are, then what is the reason for the media to have such a negative impact on women? This could be because women look at appearance as a very important role in their lives, or maybe it is because men have always played a hegemonic masculine role in society and women feel as though the only way to get their attention is through beauty.
Must watch! Here is a link below to a great movie by Jean Kilbourne, related to the topic of this article. Throughout the movie she emphasizes on how advertisements place women in obscure and materialistic positions as a way of selling a particular item. By doing that, society now looks at women as objects instead of human beings.
Sohn, S. H. (2009). Body Image: Impacts of Media Channels on Men’s and Women’s Social Comparison Process, and Testing of Involvement Measurement. Atlantic Journal Of Communication, 17(1), 19-35.