Are media representations of women affecting teenagers' self esteem?

Essay by MithrasHigh School, 11th grade October 2005

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In every magazine, on every news report and in every newspaper you are sure to see an image of what is considered the perfect body. Almost every picture I have ever seen of the tennis star Anna Kournikova seems to focus more on her well-toned figure rather than her success.

This assignment questions 'does the way the mass media present the body affect children's attitudes towards women, aerobics and other sports?' In this seminar the focus will be on girls between the ages of 12-22 years.

Young women have become more concerned about their physical appearance ever since we gained power and equality. Maybe this can be blamed on the constant narrowing of the "ideal body" type in the media? As we became more aware of our capabilities to make a difference, society has also expected an even more slender body image, based primarily out of magazines, media pressures and superficial ideals.

The average woman sees 400-600 advertisements each day and by the time she is 17 years old she has been bombarded by 250 000 commercial messages through the media.

When girls look at a magazine image they see a rendition of the perfect body, yet these images can be harmful as well as misleading. This is due to the advancement of image technology and it's ability to manipulate different body parts. Not only do girls feel the pressure to be skinny indirectly by the media, they also feel the pressure to achieve perfection and create the most desired superficial physical appearance.

It is a little known fact that high profile people such as Pamela Anderson have had unnecessary medical procedures and augmentations to achieve the perfect body. Body modifications such as breast implants, liposuction, face-lifts, tummy tucks, etc. are becoming more widely used to achieve...