Body Images, Media & Society 

    Women are, more often than not, portrayed as unrealistic sex objects in the media. This can greatly impact the way we think about our bodies, and has led to such lasting problems as anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphic disorder.

    Researchers report that women’s magazines have ten and one half times more ads and articles promoting weight loss than men’s magazines do, and over three quarters of the covers of women’s magazines include at least one message about how to change a woman’s bodily appearance by diet, exercise or cosmetic surgery.

    Television and movies reinforce the importance of a thin body as a measure of a woman’s worth. Canadian researcher Gregory Fouts reports that over three quarters of the female characters in TV situation comedies are underweight, and only one in twenty are above average in size. Heavier actresses tend to receive negative comments from male characters about their bodies, and 80 percent of these negative comments are followed by canned audience laughter.

    Advertising rules the marketplace and in advertising thin is "in." Twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman but today’s models weigh 23 percent less. Advertisers believe that thin models sell products. When the Australian magazine New Woman recently included a picture of a heavyset model on its cover, it received a truckload of letters from grateful readers praising the move. But its advertisers complained and the magazine returned to featuring bone-thin models. Advertising Age International concluded that the incident "made clear the influence wielded by advertisers who remain convinced that only thin models spur the sales of beauty products."

  • Young girls are being deluged by media images of skinny models
  • Girls are becoming weight conscious as young as 8 years old 
  • 80% of 9 year old's are on diets 
  • Eating disorders have grown 400% since 1970 
  • In a recent survey by Teen People magazine, 27% of the girls felt that the media pressures them to have a perfect body. 
  • By the time a young person is 17 years old, they have received over 250,000 commercial messages through the media. 
  • 69% of girls in one study said that magazine models influence their idea of a perfect body shape. 
  • Many males are becoming insecure about their physical appearance as advertising and other media images raise the standard and idealize well-built men. 
  • Researchers are seeing an alarming increase in obsessive weight training and the use of anabolic steroids & dietary supplements that promise bigger muscles and more stamina for lifting.