Media's Influence on Teen Girls and Their Self Esteem

Essay by forever32College, UndergraduateC, March 2004

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Her body is scarred as she stares at the reflection of her petite, delicate figure in the mirror. As she turns, revealing her profile, she notices the tight-drawn skin that covers her bones. She cries, and with a slight sob, returns to the bathroom once more. Another day passes and her life is still as tragic as it was before, but now she can place the blame on herself; or is it the media that triggers this odd behavior in teenage girls? According to About-Face, sixty nine percent of female television characters are thin and only five percent are overweight (Silverstein, Peterson, Perdue & Kelly, 1986). This substantial gap between the "thin" and the "thick" is a leading factor in the lowered self-esteems of young teenage girls as well as a primary cause in drastic appearance changes. Our society has elevated the importance of women's appearance through body styles and artifical perfection to such a degree that it causes lowered self-esteem in teenagers.

The media emphasizes the importance of physical beauty rather than emotional attractiveness. As a female tries to obtain the look of an "attractive" person it can potentially be devastating for a woman's body. The use of magazine advertisements raises a female's desire to be faultless. Advertisers use airbrushing and other computer generated visuals to make models and other celebrities appear better looking. The thinner thighs, flatter stomach, and flawless skin are now how the media portrays a typical womanly figure. A teenager that is determined to change their appearance will end up ruining their natural self and will also find themselves still unhappy with their physical characteristics. Along with many scars, emotional anxiety can occur. At this point, teens become extremely stressed and eating disorders become more noticeable. A girl's concern with weight increases as the media...