There is no question that media plays a large role in how adolescents perceive themselves, particularly in terms of physical attractiveness. Magazines, television, music, billboard ads and social media sites all influence adolescents and their perception of themselves. Everywhere you look young beautiful people are staring back at you.
Although most adolescents believe that the images are not typical of the general population or of the people they know, they still want to have the perfect body; more muscle,(without muscles o won’t get the girls), bigger breasts, smaller waist, firmer butt, whiter smile and don’t forget, no pimples. The constant barrage Of media’s perfect body reinforces the type of imagery that has a negative effect on adolescents.
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When young men and women are constantly seeing skinny, tall, tan, big breasted women and tone, muscular, tan, tough men, they are brainwashed that those images are the ideal, acceptable and attractive body types. These images effectively manipulate their sense of self, especially in regard to physical appearance. Since these images are airbrushed or “photo-shopped”, ND there is no way that anyone can naturally look like these images, a negative self-image is fostered in adolescents that strive but never attain the “perfect body’.
This anxiety about body image is one reason for poor nutrition among teenagers (The Developing Person peg. 390). In addition, young people think intensely about themselves and about what others think about them (adolescent egocentrics) (The Developing Person peg. 408) which makes them think they are noticed by everyone and in turn more self- conscience. A poor body image can negatively affect your overall self-image ND cause depression. The negative body image can alter your view of your personality, abilities and future, creating feelings of shame and hopelessness.
The consequences of the decisions made due to negative body image can also contribute to depression. Addictions, abusive relationships and lost opportunities can intensify the prior emotional and mental damage (Heath). It was very hard to find positive or neutral media that was geared toward adolescents. The positive media was targeted towards reversing the negative image that is typical in media today. The bodyguard. Mom ad was eye catching because of Kate Winslow, but also because the words “proud of my body” were the largest and most eye catching print.
It made you want to read the rest of the message and when you did, you understood that she was passing on the message that she was proud of her body to her daughter. Families are influential to young adults despite rebellion and bickering and despite seeking independence they still rely on parental support (The Developing Person peg. 461 The neutral media was based on the subtle message that saying no to smoking did not have to be hard. The message started with young adults acting silly and telling one of their friends “no”.
When you realized that the friend is smoking, the adolescents acting silly take the edge off of saying “no” to smoking and show you that it isn’t hard to say no. The very subtle message is that you have control over your decisions and your body. Since the first use of tobacco usually occurs with friends, this media helps to overcome the fear of saying no to their friends. In theory it should work, but in actuality most media like this have the opposite effect from that intended (The Developing Person peg. 57). The negative media was the easiest to find since it was the most predominate.
From dieting tips and diet pills to constant magazine articles headlining “3 minute flat abs”, “look 10 years younger”, or “30 minutes to slim”, the push from the media to conform to a certain body type that is in most cases unrealistic, is playing a major influence on perceived body image, how we rate ourselves as attractive, and what we define as beautiful. This in turn sets up adolescents for failure and depression as stated previously. In conclusion, media influences adolescents cognitively (adolescent egocentrics), physically (poor body image and depression) and socially (peer pressure).
Everywhere you look media is influencing our young adults’ self-perception. By the media putting intense social pressures on adolescents’ to look a certain way through barraging them with idealistic pictures of models, articles on weight loss and body types that are not realistic; they are making a mockery out of the world of health and fitness.