The Pressure to Be Thin Essay

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One can hardly go an hour or two without exposure to the media. From television and commercials to magazines and radio endorsements, we are constantly bombarded by images and sounds. However, not all of this is good. Both teenage girls and boys are being confronted with unrealistic expectations of beauty every day. As a result, the media has negatively effected many teenagers’ perceptions of body image. For years, Hollywood’s actresses have dealt with a constant spotlight on their bodies. When Alicia Silverstone was nineteen, she was confident enough to appear in public despite the fact that she had recently gained five or ten extra pounds (Levitt and Schneider). However, instead of being commended for her self-confidence, both the tabloids and Entertainment Weekly printed derogatory articles about her weight (Levitt and Schneider). Los Angeles social psychologist Debbie Then was quoted in People magazine as saying “We’re evolving toward an unnatural view of beauty, thin women with huge breasts and stick legs like those of a twelve year old.” In an exclusive poll later done by People magazine, it was found that women are three times more likely to be unhappy with their bodies, and the younger they were, the unhappier they were (Levitt and Schneider). Women in Hollywood’s spotlights are not the only ones that have been pressured by the media. The majority of young women that participate in the Miss America pageants are at least fifteen percent below their recommended weight based on their height (Levitt and Schneider). Even the fashion industry has contributed to the pressure to be thin. Most runway models look as if a stiff breeze could knock them over. Because there has been a lot of controversy over the weight of many international models, the fashion industry has only recently started monitoring the model’s body mass index. If a model’s body

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