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BigSis
BigSis asks:
Q:

How does the media affect body image

What effects does the media have on teenage self-esteem?
In Topics: Self esteem and identity, Teen issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

AnnieFox
May 12, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Wow, this is a BIG question and literally hundreds of books have been written on the impact of media on the development self-esteem, self-worth, body image for kids/teens and adults. Because we are visual creatures and the new media (which of course includes the internet and Social Media) is all about visuals, we are bombarded and bathed in images 24/7. Each image we see of a human causes us to judge that image as "Good" or "Bad" and of course, we compare how other people look with our self-image. Most of the time, tweens and teens are hyper-critical of themselves and so you can see with a steady and abundant diet of PhotoShopped lovelies that a young person's self-esteem is fighting an uphill battle.

We can't change the media, but we can help tweens and teens become more savvy consumers of these media messages. I've got several helpful books and sites to recommend. Ready? Here goes:

About Face http://about-face.org/ Their mission is to equip women and girls with the tools to understand and resist harmful media messages that affect self-esteem and body image.

"So Sexy So Soon" by Diane E. Levin. A book about the way media and the marketing arms of huge corporations influence children in unhealthy ways. This link includes my podcast interview with Dr. Levin.
http://blog.anniefox.com/2010/01/17/podcast-so-sexy-so-soon/

Shaping Youth: Amy Jussel's excellent site/blog about the impact of media on young people. http://www.shapingyouth.org/

Education is a powerful transformer of attitude and behavior.



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laurenf
Nov 23, 2010
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
I would say the media has a large affect on teen body image. When teens watch shows with characters they resonate with, they can consciously and unconsciously associate these body characteristics with what an ideal person looks like.

More info can be found below: from Education.com and The Neumors Foundation.
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Additional Answers (5)

EdieRaether
EdieRaether , Teacher writes:
Oh Boy....don't get me started.  I worked extensively with eating disorders and the media certainly has played a part on the problem and the deaths of our youth.  In many ways the media has more impact on a child's conditioning and thinking and behavior than a parent!   AND...they are harder on girls....always have been. They need to be shamed when they get out of bounds.  It is also in the movies, Advertising and music.  
All you can do is counteract it with more positive suggestions to encourage change from the INSIGHT out.  
Believe in yourself!!
Edie

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EdieRaether
EdieRaether , Teacher writes:
Oh Boy....don't get me started.  I worked extensively with eating disorders and the media certainly has played a part on the problem and the deaths of our youth.  In many ways the media has more impact on a child's conditioning and thinking and behavior than a parent!   AND...they are harder on girls....always have been. They need to be shamed when they get out of bounds.  It is also in the movies, Advertising and music.  
All you can do is counteract it with more positive suggestions to encourage change from the INSIGHT out.  
Believe in yourself!!
Edie

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Sarpax
Sarpax writes:
By showing men and women who have unrealistically flawless bodies (due to makeup, airbrushing, and stand ins) which cause those who aren't perfect to sometimes have body image issues.
> 60 days ago

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JeanneBrockmyer
JeanneBrock... writes:
There is a lot of research on how media affects body image.  If you look at a typical magazine or soap opera you see idealized body types.  There is a strong message that this is the way you must look.  Teens are already very sensitive about (1) conforming and (2) appearance. So if their appearance is not consistent with what they see in media portrayals, then their self-esteem may be negatively affected. Parents need to help teens value their unique qualities, not only appearance, but intelligence, curiosity, creativity, and so many other areas.

Jeanne H. Brockmyer, Ph. D.
education.com expert in clinical child psychology
> 60 days ago

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Marebear
Marebear , Student writes:
Wow! Excellent question! Being a teenager myself, I have personal insight on this question. First, let's start with magazines. Magazine covers are always of a pretty girl who seems to be flawless. Perfect skin, perfect hair, perfect body. Many teenage girls are pressured to be that girl- a perfect girl. Teen guys however sometimes feel pressured to date only "perfect" girls. I can go on forever but I have limited room to write and I'll spare you from my what-would-be- novel. The universal theme is being perfect. Girls always have a desire to be perfect. But they never think they're good enough. Teen guys also want to be like their hero's: strong, athletic, and always with a hot girlfriend. Thanks to the media teens everywhere don't feel as if they're good enough for anything. It basically destroys their self esteem.
> 60 days ago

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