Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2002

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Introduction In this paper I will try to answer the following questions: What are the current images of women in the media? What message do they send? Do media images influence women's feeling of body image? In what way? The goal of this paper is to analyze how the influx of images from mass media serves to construct gender images, particularly women's body image.

In this paper I will focus on the representations of women's body image in the media and ask how these representations affect women's self-image and behavior.

Most of the bibliographic material in this paper relates to the United States where the subject has been given extensive attention. In my examples I will also include examples from the Israeli media and comments by Israeli women.

The media I relate to in this paper include: television, films, newspapers and magazines. These media are related to each other because they emphasize the visual element (newspapers and magazines include numerous photographs and drawings, which in some women's magazines are more abundant than the text).

Although I will be looking only at media images, these images do not exist in a vacuum. Other influences outside the media correspond with the media images and enhance their message. For instance: fashion advertisements promoting clothes companies do not only show thin models in their ads, but also stock a limited range of clothes sizes corresponding with the thin image.

The images of the media surround us constantly. According to Peach (1998): "We are exposed to over 2,000 ads a day, constituting perhaps the most powerful educational force in society. The average adult will spend one and a half years of his/her life watching television commercials". (p. 128). Leafing through the morning paper we unconsciously take in adverts and photographs. Going to work we pass...