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Philosophy of Body Image & the Media

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Jackie Nelson

on 23 May 2012

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Transcript of Philosophy of Body Image & the Media

Body image is the mental picture that a person has of him- or herself. In young people especially, it has come to be influenced by one's body weight.
http://go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?sgHitCountType=None&sort=RELEVANCE&inPS=true&prodId=GPS&userGroupName=s1350&tabID=T003&searchId=R2&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&contentSegment=&searchType=BasicSearchForm&currentPosition=7&contentSet=GALE%7CA83519905&&docId=GALE|A83519905&docType=GALE&role=ITOF Brief History Body image has always been an issue worried about in history
depending on the time period and class
Not only for women but men too 1500 - Elizabethan Era

like a bell
huge lower half
small waist
flat chest (wore an armour-like corsets to flatten the chest) 1600 - Corsets

Corsets were made of whalebone rather than iron.
Lower half of the body natural shaped
Health issues from corsets ------ 1700 - Tight Corsets

Skirts hooped; flat at the front and back for a wide shape from side
Panniers worn; frame-work undergarment tied to the waist to support skirts at the sides.
Corsets were tightly laced to draw the shoulders back and give a high, round bosom and upright posture 1800 - Tighter Corsets & Bigger Skirts
corsets became tighter
skirt more bigger
Petticoats (hooped cage) worn 1850 - Corsets Out of Fashion
bustle at the back of the skirt worn to make the women's buttocks bigger
Corsets sometimes still worn to hold in the waist
Bodice emphasised the bust
Women had to look fleshy & full-figured. A thin body was seen as unhealthy**** 1900 - 'S' Shape Bodyline
Small waist
Health corset worn tightly
Pushed the bust forward and the hips back, creating an 'S' shape 1910 - Women's Athletic Image
Active and athletic
Physical fitness introduced a slender shape
Corset were out of fashion 1920 - Masculine Look

Thin, boyish figure with little or no curves
underwear that flattened chest for a masculine look
wanted a flatter chest. 1940 -Hourglass Figure
curves were back in fashion
Slim waists
"Falsies" - extra padding in bra was added 1980 - Diet & Exercise

started to work out for a fit body shape
diet and exercising fairly commom
wanted a muscular body, but with nice curves 1990 - Weight Loss

weight loss popular
tall, skinny with big breasts
corsets, body-shapers, control tights, push-up bras & magic knickers 2000 - Thinness; the Ultimate Goal

Thinness is ultimate body shape goal
plastic surgery, gastric reductions and radical diets to get skinny
excessive work outs
eating disorders http://www.msoe.edu/life_at_msoe/current_student_resources/student_resources/counseling_services/newsletters_for_mental_health/body_image_dissatisfaction.shtml Media messages expressing that “thin is in” may not directly cause eating disorders, but they create the context in which people learn to place a value on the size and shape of their body. To the extent that media messages like advertising and celebrity spotlights help our culture define what is beautiful and what is “good.” The media’s power over our development of self-esteem and body image can be incredibly strong. Research indicates that exposure to images of thin, young, air-brushed female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women and girls Media's Effects on Body Image and Self Esteem By Jackie Nelson and Julia Busto Body image is the mental picture that a person has of himself or herself. In young people especially, it has come to be influenced by one's body weight. Body Image Self-esteem is a term in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth.
It encompasses beliefs (for example, "I am competent") and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame.
A person's outer appearance, weight, or intelligence can strongly determine
gauge of how valued and accepted we feel Self Esteem television
toys Social Influences 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. In the television show, "The Swan," young women are separated from family and friends for several weeks to undergo an intensive diet and exercise plan. Hair stylists recommend hair extensions and highlights, and plastic surgeons perform breast augmentation, facelifts, and Botox and collagen injections. The end results are showcased in a beauty pageant, where formerly "ugly ducklings" compete against each other for the title of "The Swan." Social influence has affected younger and younger people. The controversial American reality series Toddlers & Tiaras follows the world of child beauty pageants. Each episode looks closely at three different pageant contestants and their families as the children prepare for their pageant shows. The anonymous group “hackivist” released the following video targeting the show"This program is promoting the sexism of young, innocent girls, transforming them into this hybrid, adult, sexual state. Pictures from the show, ‘Toddlers and Tiaras,’ have given way to an increase in child pornographic images.” But why? "I don't care what people think...." But you do... Normative Social Influence =
influence resulting from a person's desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval
sensitive to social norms Corsets ALL children wore unboned corsets from the time they could walk
helped posture develop
boys wore them until they became active
girls wore them until they reached puberty, then were upgraded to steel/whale boned corsets Health Issues
severe organ displacement
internal damage
various forms of cancer Many movies present overweight characters that are not the brightest or most suave of the bunch. Although they are often entertaining, they are often goofy and not taken seriously. For example, Ham from "The Sandlot", Alan from "The Hangover", Seth (Jonah Hill) from “Superbad”, and Fat Albert are humorous, but not particularly charming characters. Magazines often depict ideal bodies and constantly include healthy eating habits and ways to lose weight. Advertisers believe that thin models sell products. When the Australian magazine "New Woman" recently included a picture of a heavy-set model on its cover, 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." 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. Images of bodies are often edited or modified to make the bodies seem more attractive or appealing. Some may know this editing as “Photoshop”. Andy Roddick is quoted as saying: "...I'm not as fit as the Men's Fitness cover suggests...little did I know I have 22 inch guns and a disappearing birth mark on my right arm... I walked by the newsstand in the airport and did a total double take." The American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced it was taking a stand against image manipulation in advertising, stating that alterations made through processes like Photoshop can contribute to unrealistic body image expectations, eating disorders and other emotional problems. Today with Photoshop or other software package the changes are easy to make and the costs are minimal. Photographers shoot digitally and the raw images are so easily manipulated that art directors and editors have become accustomed to making changes to almost every published picture. Surprisingly, toys such as Barbies and Bratz have presented the unattainable beauty to the young culture, ultimately shaping their body images. The term, "unattainable" is not an exaggeration. It has been proven that the Barbie’s body proportions are physically impossible to have. Researchers generating a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions, for example, found that her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel. A real woman built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhea and malnutrition. This huge Barbie doll represents what Barbie's body proportions would be if she were life-sized. The doll stands 6 feet tall with a 39-inch bust, 18-inch waist and 33-inch hips. Philosphers -Plato
-Kant Plato believed aesthetics:
-were an ingredient property within things
-were defined by a property of the whole object
-as opposed to our social media, were structured and related to intelligence Hume believed aesthetics:
-were feeling of approbation, and an original, simple impression of the mind
-could not be constructed by an individual from other ideas
- would not occur in the absence of taste Nietzsche
- sought to rehabilitate aesthetics and claim this neglected field to be a higher form of philosophy Kant
- saw aesthetics came as an afterthought.
- Isolated two fundamental necessary conditions for a judgment to be a judgment of taste — subjectivity and universality.
- For subjectivity, saw judgment of taste based on a feeling of pleasure or displeasure. This is what distinguishes a judgment of taste from an empirical judgment.
- For universality, saw a judgment of taste as something that people demand agreement of from others. He thought one would want others to share his judgement. the need for acceptance aided survival
Asked, “what is necessary for your happiness?” or “What is it that makes your life meaningful?” most people mention – before anything else – close, satisfying relationships with family, friends, romantic partners (Berscheid 1985)
Seeking love and belonging, we spend billions on clothes, cosmetics, and diet and fitness ads – all motivated by quest for acceptance Hundreds of experiments reveal that first impressions rely on appearance*
perceive more attractive people as healthier, happier, more sensitive, more successful, more socially skilled
income analyses show a penalty for plainness or obesity and a premium for beauty (Engemann and Owyang 2005)
analysis of 100 top films since 1940 found that attractive characters were portrayed as morally superior to unattractive characters (Smith&others 1999)
Americans spend more on beauty supplies than on education and social services combined
Men in 37 cultures, judge women as more attractive if they have a youthful appearance. Women feel attracted to healthy-looking men Mere Exposure Effect Repeated exposure
results in people developing preferences for things simply because they are familiar with them
explains why the endless amounts of commercials, ads, television shows, and movies have such a tremendous effect on viewers Informational Social Influence
= influence resulting from one’s willingness to accept others’ opinions about reality Photoshop! The Results Stice and his colleagues (2001) gave some adolescent girls (but not others), a 15-month subscription to Seventeen Magazine, vulnerable girls who were already dissatisfied with themselves and idealized thinness, exhibited increased body dissatisfaction and eating disorder tendencies. Anorexia Nervosa
= drop significantly below normal weight yet feel fat and remain obsessed with losing weight

Bulimia Nervosa
= always begins with a dieter that has broken restrictions and gorged; repeated episodes of overeating (binging) followed by compensatory vomiting, laxative use, fasting, excessive exercise. Pre-occupied with food, fearful of becoming over-weight, bouts of depression and anxiety; weight fluctuations Orthorexia Nervosa
= an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating; similar to anorexia; fixated on food purity and quality; consumed with what and how much they eat/how to deal with slip ups But these issues are not only seen in girls and women.... Men’s ultimate goal is their shape males associate their attractiveness with increased muscle definition, and are concerned with increasing their muscle mass G. I. Joes
if extrapolated to a height of 5’10”, would have larger biceps than any bodybuilder in history 1997 alone, American men spent
$4 billion on exercise equipment and health club memberships
$3 billion on grooming aids and fragrances
$800 million on hair transplants The Opposite.
65% of Americans are overweight

In certain cultures obesity signals affluence and social status

Obesity affects how one is treated and self-esteem
make less money
less likely to be married (women)
weight discrimination
less worthy of hiring
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