Sex in the Media Takes a Toll on Teenage Behavior

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The typical American teenager encounters thousands of sexual references in the media every year. These references come in the form of television shows, movies, music, advertisements, magazines, and the internet. Although there is frequent criticism concerning the amount of sexual content in the media, it continues to increase. The way sex is portrayed by the media does indeed influence teenage behavior because sex is constantly shown as consequence-free, and gives teens the wrong ideas of body image and gender roles. The media has made body image very important in today’s society. What people watch on television, read in magazines, hear on the radio, and see on the internet, soon becomes the standard of reality and desire. Female actors continue to become thinner, taller, and more beautiful. Magazines are filled with images of what woman are supposed to look like. With the media constantly invading the lives of woman with these type of images, it is no wonder teens begin to believe in the standards, of what woman should look like, set by the media. In the media, “Woman‘s physical beauty [is] emphasized” (Schooler, 754). This causes teens to strive to look like the people they see in the media, even though the media sets unattainable standards. There are specific gender roles that the media tells us are acceptable. Woman are always portrayed as sex objects, waiting to be taken advantage of by men. This is extremely harmful to a woman because it makes her seem weak. However, the issue of body image and gender roles are not only a problem for females. Males also have a certain set standard of how they should look, and the characteristics they should embody. Schooler notes that “Men‘s strength and prowess are emphasized in the [media]” (Schooler, 745). Time and time again males in the media are made to look dominant. Men are shown as strong, and needing the ability

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