Media Influence on body image and genders.

I’m a bit sickened right now. Heres why:

This week I started a class titled Children and Media studies.  It’s all about the influence the media has on children. We were told to pick a topic for a final group project. The topics included:

  1. Animation (print, comics, cartoons and movies)
  2. video games
  3. educational media
  4. cyber “bullying” Internet safely
  5. Teen Films
  6. Diversity and International Images (including prime time programs)
  7. Gender Images
  8. Advertising

Can you guess which I picked. Well IF you thought 7 .GENDER IMAGES your right.  This topic includes How men and women are portreyed in the Media.  It includes body image and gender roles. I’m very very passionate about this topic.

(FYI- A few monthes ago I was having a discussion with someone about the things that we are passionate about, what motivates us.  We came to the conclusion that often times it is the very thing that you have fallen victim to or your “weakness” persay.. that is the thing you are passionate about. For me..this comes down to how Women are portreyed in the media-body image and eating disorders) 

It’s not an easy thing for me to talk about…I often get outraged at just the topic alone. Most of my life I have dealt with Media scrutiny. You might say that my stint in New york and modeling was only somthing that EMPHASIZED this more but I’m not blaming any one thing for my weakness.

So…onto what I was saying. This afternoon I’ve been doing some research to find websites that bring forth this VERY TOPIC. MEDIA INFLENCE ON MEN AND WOMEN.

A few things I have found that I must share….First off there is a website

www.loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org  If you go there.. click on OFFENSIVE ADS and POSITIVE ADS.

It’s kinda gross how women are portreyed in some ads. It saddens me to say the least.

Another site.

www.mindonthemedia.org Go to this site and click on SHOCKING FACTS. This is some of what you will find

Media
o Roughly $12 billion is spent on advertising and marketing to children…over $150 per boy and girl in the U.S. (Born to Buy, Schor)
o The average young person views more than 3,000 ads per day on television, on the Internet, on billboards and in magazines.” Ads are also creeping into schools, where marketers have cleverly placed them in “educational” posters, textbook covers, bathroom stalls, scoreboards, daily news programs, and bus radio
programming. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
o By the time adolescents graduate from high school, they will have spent about 15,000 hours with the media, while only having spent 12,000 hours in school. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
 

 

 


Body Image
o Eighty percent of 10-year-old American girls diet. The number one magic wish for young girls age 11-17 is to be thinner. (justthink.org)
o Females cite the media as the most important source of pressure to be thin.(If Looks Could Kill, Reaves)
o Studies show that reading “teen magazines” and having exposure to thin models creates lower self esteem, body dissatisfaction, decreased confidence and potential eating disorder symptoms (mediafamily.org)
o By age 13, approximately 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies”. This number will increase to 78% once girls reach 17 years of age. (National Institute on Media and the Family)

 

 

 


Advertising
Key points from Killing us Softly, Kilbourne
o In addition to products, advertising attempts to sell women the myth that they can, and should, achieve physical perfection to have value in our culture.
o As advertising pushes its objects, it turns women’s bodies into objects, often dismembering them with excessive focus on just one part of the body to sell a product.
o Advertisers themselves acknowledge that they sell more than products, that the images in advertising are designed to affect the way we see our lives.
o Men and women inhabit very different worlds. Men’s bodies are not routinely scrutinized, criticized and judged in the way that women’s bodies are.

o Media images of female beauty influence everyone. They influence how women feel about themselves, and they influence how men feel about the real women in their lives.

o Little girls and teenagers are increasingly sexualized in advertisements. A growing number of ads are reminiscent of child pornography.

o Advertising is not solely to blame for rigid gender roles. However, there is no aspect of our culture that is as pervasive and persuasive as advertising.

 

 

 

 

Politics
o In 2007, 87 women serve in the U.S. Congress. Sixteen women serve in the Senate, and 71 women serve in the House. The number of women in statewide elective executive posts is 76, while the proportion of women in state legislatures is at 23.5 percent.
o Congress: women hold 87, or 16.3%, of the 535 seats in the 110th US Congress — 16, or 16.0%, of the 100 seats in the Senate and 71, or 16.4%, of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. In addition, three women serve as Delegates to the House from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC.
o Statewide Elective Executive: In 2007, 76 women hold statewide elective executive offices across the country; women hold 24.1% of the 315 available positions. Among these women, 47 are Democrats, 26 are Republicans, one is an independent, and 3 were elected in nonpartisan races.
o State Legislature: In 2007, 1,734, or 23.5%, of the 7,382 state legislators in the United States are women. Women hold 422, or 21.4%, of the 1,971 state senate seats and 1,312, or 24.2%, of the 5,411 state house seats. Since 1971, the number of women serving in state legislatures has more than quintupled.

(All statistics above are from Center for American Women and Politics, Rutger’s University)

 

 

 


Television & Movies
o Male TV characters (41%) were more likely to be shown “on the job” than female characters (28%). Men were more likely to talk about work than women were (52% vs. 40%) and less likely to talk about romantic relationships (49% vs. 63%) (Children NOW and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 1997)
o Women are about 37% of prime-time TV characters (they are 51% of the U.S. population). Women 45 and older are only 15% of prime-time TV characters (American Association of Retired Persons, 1996)
o Women are only 132 of the general managers of the 1,600 television stations in the U.S. (National Association of Broadcasters)
o In 2005, women comprised 17% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films. This is the same percentage of women employed in these roles in 1998. (Celluloid Ceiling 2005, Lauzen)

 

 

 

 


o Although women control 60 percent of the wealth, and influence 85 percent of buying decisions, they have only 11 percent of the roles on TV and film. (Women in Film)
 
The next bit of information is from a site www.wampow.org Under QUICK FACTS- (this is a long list but VERY VERY worth reading.
A scan of recent research, polls, and surveys suggests that:

  • the average woman is 5’4″, 140 to 145 lbs, and wears a size 11-14 dress
  • store mannequins are 6′ tall and are approximately  34-23-24
  • the average model is 5’11” and 117 lbs
  • models are thinner than 98% of women
  • the average size of models has become thinner and has stabilized at 13-19% below physically expected weight
  • 25 years ago a model would typically would weight 8% less than the public, now it is typical for a model to weigh 23% less than an average woman
  • the modeling industry standards suggest women should have waists no larger than 25″ and hips no larger than 35 1/2 inches, they also recommend measurements of 34-24-34
  • 50% of teenage girls think they should be dieting
  • 59% of 12 and 13 year old girls report low self esteem regarding their diets and their bodies
  • 80% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance
  • 45% of healthy weight women will describe themselves as overweight (only 23% of men do).
  • frequent dieting increases the chance of being depressed by 70%
  • 42% of first to third grade girls want to be thinner
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat
  • 46% of 9 to 10 year olds are on diets sometimes or often and 51% feel better if they are on a diet
  • 80% of 10-year-old American girls diet. The number one wish for girls age 11-17 is to be thinner.
  • In one California study, by 4th grade 80% of girls were dieting
  • Eating disorders are the 3rd most common illness in female teens
  • Ninety percent of those afflicted with eating disorders are adolescent and young adult women.
  • 91% of college age females have dieted
  • By college age, 4.5-18% of women have a history of bulimia, 1 in 100 have anorexia, another 1 in 100 have binge eating, 15% have disordered eating of some type
  • There are currently 5 – 10 MILLION girls and women with eating disorders and conditions
  • 1,000 women die each year from eating related disorders
  • a direct relationship between media exposure and eating disorders has been shown in one study
  • Two-thirds of boys and girls in high school believed that being thinner would impact their lives but the majority of girls believed that this impact would be positive, and the majority of the boys believed that the impact would be negative.
  • when girls ages 14 to 18 were shown images of models (either thin or computer altered overweight models) the girls who saw the thin models evaluated themselves more negatively than those who saw the overweight models
  • anorexia nervosa rates increase among girls age 10 -19 as fashion and ideal body images promoting thinness change
  • our culture places a higher value on physical beauty in the evaluation of females than males
  • liposuction increased 389% over last decade 
  • Women’s bodies are frequently used to sell products. A 1997 advertising study showed that white women in roughly 62% of ads were “scantily clad”, in bikinis, underwear, etc, while the same was true for 53% of black women.
  • Between elementary and high school, the percentage of girls in the U.S. who are “happy with the way I am” drops from 60% to 29%.
  • Between 1996 and 1998, teenage cosmetic surgeries nearly doubled from 13,699 to 24,623, according to the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
  • The average woman sees 400 to 600 advertisements per day, 4 and by the time she is 17 years old, she has received over 250,000 commercial messages through the media

Magazines

  • women’s magazines have 10.5 times more ads and articles about weight loss then do men’s magazines
  • 1 out of 11 ads has a message about beauty
  • in a study of 17 magazines, the largest percentage of articles were about appearance
  • 60% of white middle school girls read fashion magazines
  • magazines account for more than half the reading reported by teens
  • girls, more than boys are dissatisfied with their bodies and report magazines as their primary source of information
  • subjects exposed in a study to seeing thin models reported lower self esteem than those seeing regular or oversize models
  • 60%+ of college students feel worse after reading magazines
  • changes found in magazines between 1970 and 1990 include increase emphasis on fitness for attractiveness and a decrease in the model hip to waist ratio (becoming less curvy)

TV

  • 1 out of every 3.8 commercials sends a message about attractiveness
  • 1 out of 11 commercials has a DIRECT message about beauty
  • 69% of female TV characters are thin, only 5% are overweight
  • children and teens watch an average of 3 to 4 hours per day of TV- 22-28 hours per week
  • the average person sees between 400-600 ads per day
  • the average teen sees over 5,000 of these messages per year
  • girls and boys both report that the characters on TV are skinnier than women in real life
  • 7 of 10 girls say that they want to look like a character on TV
  • 16% of girls had dieted to look like a TV character
  • children associated worrying, crying, whining and weakness more often with female than male TV characters but male TV characters were reported to be associated with sports, being a leader and wanting to be kissed or have sex
  • Women 45 and older are only 15% of prime-time TV characters
  • Viewers are more than twice as likely to encounter a scene in which a male character predominates over a female

 

 

 

 These are only SOME of my findings……I share it with all of you because this is somthing I am ADAMANT about doing somthing about in my own life and in hopefully the lives of other women.

** I hope to one day be in a position to make other women feel better about themselves. Women of every type are beautiful and that is somthing I will strongly work towards spreading.

I have a softball game to attend tonight.. and lots of homework and vocab so that’s all for today.

LOVE -LO

 

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2 thoughts on “Media Influence on body image and genders.

  1. Dear Lauren, I think this is a very interesting article, and well-researched and comprehensive. I feel that you could expand a little on the pressure to have cosmetic surgery, especially breast enhancements. 99% of the time when I look at a media image (I think computer games are the worst) I feel like I am nowhere near the ‘ideal’ for breast size and so feel inadequate. Many other women feel this way I’m sure, and this has fuelled the rise in breast augmentation surgery. For the majority of women, being naturally thin and having naturally large breasts is impossible and so many women are made to feel inadequate by the onslaught of images (especially computer-generated ones where the impossible is possible). Any kind of surgery carries risks of disfigurement, pain, infection and even death, and to promote any kind of unneccessary surgery in the name of beauty is irresponsible
    Keep blogging!
    Emma, London

  2. Thank you so much for this article, it helped quite a lot in the English oral I had to do for school.

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