harmful media messages that affect self esteem and body image

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The media promotes today’s culture’s standards for the importance of beauty and body shape. The media reflects images of thinness as well as a sense of success and happiness attached to it. Repeated exposure renders these images real and attainable resulting in the female comparing herself to this inhuman ideal. As a result, after the comparison we then become motivated to achieve new goals and expectations. These expectations are not always attainable either, they are simply not realistic. Harrison (1997) states that “The consensus among medical professionals, researchers, and lay people alike is clear: Regarding our children's body image, something has gone wrong.” (para. 1) Young adolescent females and males are very vulnerable to these harmful media messages. They are developing a heightened awareness of their bodies because of all the physical changes that are occurring. As a result of this, “Many teenage girls of average weight think they are overweight and are not satisfied with their bodies. Having extreme weight concerns — and acting on those concerns — can harm girls' social, physical and emotional growth.” The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also stated that “Body image becomes an important issue for teenage boys as they struggle with body changes and pay more attention to media images of the "ideal" muscular male.” (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2008, para. 2) These young people become increasingly concerned about body image in their adolescence and base their self-worth and self-esteem on their physical appearance. The media strongly promotes that beauty is thinness, and muscles are manly through using our children’s icons in music, film and fashion. The damage that can be done is dreadfully severe. According to The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (2008) “In the United States, as many as 10 in 100

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