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Medias Influence On Body Image In Teenage Girls Essay

The Effects of the Media on Body Image in Teenage Girls Many things can affect one’s body perception such as peers and family but most importantly the influences within the media can have the biggest affect on how one sees themselves. In some ways people can control the social factors that negatively affect their body perception. However, the mass media is every where and can be hard to avoid. Past research indicates that by the time a girl turns 6 she is already dissatisfied with her body image (Hayes & Tantleff,2010).

The social standards of today emphasizes the need for women to be thin and blemish free, etting a physical expectation of beauty that is beyond impossible to reach ( Tiggemann, 2003). It is said that media is the most influential tool that aids in the growth of body dissatisfaction ( Tiggermann, 2003). Past studies on media exposure have been indifferent in their findings. For some researchers feel that the media in correlation with weight concern has no plausible findings, while other researchers feel that there is a positive association between weight concern and the mass media outlets ( Tiggermann, 2003).

Past researchers recommend that new upcoming studies should focus more on ow to undo the negative effects put on women by the media. It was suggested that the media could stop using the images of women who are unrealistically thin by replacing them with models who are average size (Hass, Pawlow, Pettibone, & Segrist, 2012). While other research suggest that a teenage girl could have a positive body image if they are taught early on the deceptions of the media ( Halliwell, Esun, & Harcourt, 2011).

The main goal of my study was to explore the effects that the media has on the body image of teenage girls. It was hypothesized that when girls were exposed to a great deal of elevision shows that depicted high amounts of physical appearance related issues they would compare themselves to the characters they saw. A second hypothesis was that if teenage girls were exposed to the deception that is within the media they would have a better perception of their own self and would not rely so much on the media for ideals of beauty.

Method Participants Fifty teenage girls were recruited by the recommendations of teachers from local middle and high schools in urban areas. Ages ranged from 14-17 with the mean age being 16. The participants were randomly assigned to experimental and ontrol groups. This study included a diverse demographic; 60% were African American, 20% were Caucasians, 15% were Latino, and 5% identified as other. Teens dealing with eating disorders were excluded, for their judgment on body image is already impaired. Measures Media exposure.

Participants were given a questioner that provided a list of popular television shows (e. g. , Love and Hip- Hop, Scandal, Empire, and How to get away with Murder) that were on during the past week and asked to indicate of which ones have they heard of and or watched. With this questioner he amount hours spent watching television was determined as well as the amount of reality television watched. From the circled list, researchers picked 4 different television clips two clips were shown to the experimental group and two clips were showed to the control group.

The experimental group was shown clips that vividly projected physical appearance related messages to the viewers. Clips had focus characters making statements such as; someone the main character in the clip is the most beautiful girl in the room another clip related to appearance behavior would be a main character trying on lothes as well as changing clothes. Each clip shown was approximately 1-minute long. The control group viewed video clips that had no appearance related messages or behaviors. The characters in these clips were not main characters like the ones portrayed in the experimental group.

Self-Assessment. Each participant was asked questions to see how they felt about themeslves, prior to the videos and than once more after each video they viewed. A trained student research assistant asked the teen girls questions about their physical looks (e. g. , do you you like your apperance? ). A likert scale was used to determine the teens responses the respones options ranged from 1-5 with 1 indicating strongly disagree and 5 meaning strongly agree. Throught the interview a number of different questions relating to looks were also asked (e. g. ; ‘could you be a strong T. V. igure or a model, would you have to change your looks to be a model or T. V. figure? ).

The answers were made numerically so they could be computable. Media Deception.. The participants were than shown a number of different pictures of women that all differed by weight and ethnicity and was asked to choose which omen could be seen as models and T. V. figures. Once the partcipants made there selection they were then shown another brief clip that explained and illustrated the process of image deception and all the work and technology that goes into becoming a “flawless” cover girl.

Procedure As each participant arrived they were randomly placed in an experimental or control group. The particapants have no knowlegde of what group they will be placed in. Educated consent for this study was given by the parents and agreement was given by each teenage girl. The teenage girls were than scorted to a room by a research assistant all of whom had been well prepared for how to interact with the particpants. Each room was equipped with a mirror that the particapants used to acess themselves.

They were asked to be open and honest about there feelings and their perception of there bodies. Ater their open mirror reflections and there ideals of who could be a televison figure and model, teenagers in the control group viewed televison scenes of secondary characters who showcased no physical or behavioral apperance related topics. While particapants in the experimental group watched lips from shows that had a main charcater who showed an abundance of apperance related subjects.

The girls were then shown a number of different pictures of women who were all of diffent weight classes and ethnicities. The particapants were asked to choose the picture of the women who would be a postive television figure and or could be a model. They were than placed in front of a computer that explained the process of “perfection”. Following the clips both the control and experimental group were asked to look back into the mirror that they had before they had watched the televison clips.

However, this time particapants were asked to reevaluate themselves and see if their views of themsleves had changed after watching the videos and being educated on media deception. Results Media Exposure it was determined that the teenage girls had spent an average of 15 hours observing televison shows and about 6 of those hours were spent watching reality televison. It was determined that negative outlooks of the body was related to the amount of time one spends watching televison. The more televison the particapant watched, the more they looked to compare themseleves to televison icons.

Self Assesment as indicated in figure one the self assesment determined that a great deal of the partcipants had a problem with the way they looked and if they could they would change something about themseleves ( 77% N= 38) of the ones that disliked there physical apperance meaning there weight, ethnicity, hair clor, etc. , 20% ( N= 10) disliked the things they wore, and 3% ( N=2) had a problem with something about thereselves that was not able to be physically seen. 25% of the teens ( N=13) thought that despite there weight they could be a model and or a televison figure. 5% ( N= 18) felt that there eight prevented them from being a televison icon or a model. 9% ( N=5) believed that factors such as their personality and who their family was would allow them to be a model and lead them to be a televison figure. Approximitly 28% ( N=14) felt that they would have to change there ethnicity or hair color/texture to become a model or televison icon.

Figure 1 Media Deception. Indicated that the teens had little or no prior knowledge of all the deception that is put into creating a “flawless” model or a “perfect” televison icon. 5% (N=38) of the teenagers inicated that the video on imagery edits will change here perception on how they now view their own body image. While, 24%( N=12) still believed that their phychal apperance was to ” ugly” to be a model or televison icon. Overall the media deception experiment indicated that once the teenagers had a better understanding of the work that is put into models and televison icons, the partcipants had no great desire to replicate the images within the media.

Discussion Past literature implies that the media has a huge amount of messages connected to appearance. However, the goal of this study was show that even with the media and their appearance elated messages, teenage girls can accept their body images This study first which showed teen girls videos that exposed them to appearance related themes agreed with the studies hypotheses which stated that after the adolescents watched these videos they would be guarded and more self conscious of themselves.

However, the results from this study does agree with past research that states appearance related images does not affect the mindset of an adolescent girl. Data received from the self assessment proposed that girls were content with the way in which they looked. However, a reat percentage of the girls did indicate that if they could, they would change something about themselves. Furthermore, about 50% of the girls had worries and thought they were fat.

Lastly, the Media deception showed that teens are not educated on the manipulation of the medias image refinement. These finding can make way for further research because it opens a new door to be able to reverse the damage that the media has already done by showing girls that they are perfect just the way they are. These findings can help young girls understand that even are greatest icons go through so much to look “perfect” Limitations. The first limitation was the sample size; to test a wide range of teenage girls the studies sample size was rather small.

The second limitation of the study was the demographics, one we only examined girls, race could have better been interpreted since the majority of the participants were African American. This study could could be enhanced if before the study researchers asked participants if we gave a survey asking individuals to what they know about media manipulation and if they want desire to be someone else because of what the television shows and media outlets show them. Conclusion.

Overall, this study shows that the more developed a teenager is the more aware they are of their self. It was evident that each teenager desired to be different in some way whether it was because of internal insecurities, social comparison, and or even just because they disliked the clothes they had to wear. However, when educated on how an individual in the media gets to be “perfect” the majority of the teenage participant began to accept who they are without comparison to individuals in the media.

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