Media Vs Body Image

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Media vs. Body Image Body image refers to a person's self-perception of his or her body type and body size. This image is sometimes in keeping with the reality of a person's body size but often quite disparate from that actuality. When a disconnect exists between perceived and actual body size, harmful eating and dieting behaviors can ensue. Understanding body image provides insight into the underlying cause of severe eating disorders and unhealthy obsession with weight control. These problems are often very severe, especially for girls and women. Standards of attractiveness have changed in U.S. culture. In the 1940s and 1950s, predominantly full-bodied women and tall, dark-haired men were seen as the most attractive. In the 1960s, a shift to much thinner body types became the norm in the fashion and entertainment industries. Since this shift, popular culture images consistently show thin, or often extremely thin, women as the standard of beauty. For men, muscle strength remains the predominant physical feature of attractiveness. The prevalence of attractive models and characters influences consumers to compare themselves to these images, and this increased focus on ultra-thin women affects the body image of young girls and women. Gender differences in body image are the focus of much social science research, which consistently shows that compared with men and boys, women and girls are more susceptible to poor body images and the problems associated with a poor self-image. Women are far more likely to be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. These are harmful, often life-threatening, diseases leading women to cause serious damage to their digestive and central nervous systems by extreme dieting and eating behaviors. Although men and boys are also diagnosed with eating disorders, the statistics show women and girls are at much greater risk. Some

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