Body Image & the Media

| March 9, 2014

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Introduction: Please read the article below and follow the instructions as follow:
Provide the name of the author, the title of the article, and a statement identifying the issue the author writes about. Give a brief (2-3 sentences) summary of the issue, not the article. End with a thesis stating whether the author has given a good argument about the issue or has presented a fair and accurate summation of the issue.
Paragraph 2: In 3-5 sentences, summarize the article. Do not yet state whether the article was effective or not. Simply provide an accurate record of what the article contains and the perspective the author brings to the issue.
Paragraph 3: Discuss the facts the author has used in the article. Consider such matters as their source, relevance, and quality. If the author has not provided any facts or only a few facts, discuss whether the lack of facts detracts from the author’s discussion of the issue.
Paragraph 4: Discuss the author’s opinion statements. Assess whether the author has provided proper grounding for the opinions expressed. Identify any weaknesses you see in the opinions, how they are expressed, and/or how they are supported.
Conclusion: Provide a final statement about the quality of the article. Summarize findings in paragraphs 2-4. End by stating whether the author has successfully fulfilled the purpose he/she started.
Article
Body Image & the Media: An Overview. By: Ballaro, Beverly, Wagner, Geraldine, Points of View: Body Image & the Media, 2013
While many factors can influence an individual’s perception of his or her own appearance, the American media has played an increasingly powerful role since the mid-twentieth century in creating idealized images of beauty. Beginning with the advent of television in the 1950s and escalating with the explosive growth of the Internet since the 1980s, the American public has been bombarded with media-driven depictions of what constitutes desirable female and male characteristics in our society. Generally, for females the body image is extremely thin, as depicted by fashion models. There is also an emphasis on large breasts. For males, the physique is tall, slender, but muscular and toned. For both genders, the most valued and appreciated appearance is youthful, and somewhat childlike.
Since the late 1990s, however, a growing number of parents, medical authorities, and cultural critics have expressed concerns about the relentless marketing of idealized body images and the toll such marketing takes on the physical and mental health of Americans. According to these critics, the combination of two trends, the technology-enabled media saturation of the American public, and the promotion by this media of highly unattainable body types, is largely responsible for an epidemic of body image pathologies afflicting American girls and women, as well as an increasing number of boys and men.
As women or men read fashion magazines or pornography, they encounter more naked or semi-naked male and female bodies than they would otherwise. These bodies look perfect because of airbrushing techniques and plastic surgery. In our media-driven culture, our views of what women and men should look like are shaped by these unreal images. Older men and women, or people with disabilities, or disfigurements are rarely if ever depicted in these types of publications, or in other types of high-profile media, for that matter, such as films, TV, or the Internet.
But men and women, boys and girls, are influenced a great deal by these perfect images and spend millions of dollars each year on products that are supposed to help them attain these often-unattainable bodies. Many others become ill while trying to diet, or build their bodies up beyond reasonable limits.
Understanding the Discussion
Anorexia Nervosa: A predominantly female body image disorder characterized by affected individuals’ perceptions of themselves as overweight and a pathological aversion to gaining weight. Distorted body images can produce intense shame, anxiety, and depression, which in turn generally drive sufferers to self-destructive behaviors including self-starvation and obsessive exercise routines.
Body Dysmorphia Disorder: A disorder in which an individual’s perception of his or her own body is radically disconnected from the objective reality of that individual’s appearance.
Body Image: The mental image an individual holds of his or her own physical appearance, which he or she believes also represents the way others perceive him or her.
Bulimia Nervosa: A predominately female body image disorder characterized by affected individuals’ perceptions of themselves as overweight. Sufferers often feel shame and depression, and undergo cycles of binging (quickly consuming large quantities of food) and purging (emptying the stomach through self-induced vomiting or the ingestion of laxatives).
Media: Print and electronic vehicles for the mass dissemination of information or entertainment. Media include the magazine, newspaper, and book publishing trades as well as the film, radio, television, and recording industries.
Muscle Dysmorphia: A predominantly male body image disorder characterized by affected individuals’ perceptions of themselves as lacking adequate muscularity. This body image can produce intense shame, anxiety, and depression, which in turn can drive sufferers to compulsive, often self-destructive eating, exercise, and steroid-abusing regimens. Because its symptoms mirror those of anorexia nervosa, muscle dysmorphia has sometimes been dubbed “reverse anorexia” or “bigorexia.”
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