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The Media's Portrayal of Women

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Stacey S

on 29 September 2014

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Transcript of The Media's Portrayal of Women

The media's relentless standards push women to self destructive behavior
The relatively new internet fueled concept of the possibly dangerous weight loss goal of a 'thigh gap' affects women and young girls pursuing it.

Even very thin people may not have this gap, but because many skinny models have this gap and countless social media sites view it as a necessity to be pretty, the thigh gap is still upheld as a beauty achievement.

Girls that spend the most time on Facebook had a greater change of developing negative body image and eating disorders.

The concept of focusing on one body part is not new, however the idea to have these things taking on a life of their own is new. The internet in our everyday lives makes it difficult to avoid the impact that they hold upon us.

Mysko said experts believe that
"exposure to online images of extreme beauty standards and the drive to compare does increase the risk of developing eating disorders."

Sara's story supports most-if not all the claims made. As a 22 year old Castlewood client said that thigh gap sites were a contributing factor to her struggle.

Sara excelled in school while hiding her secret of anorexia. Sara frequently visited thigh gap sites.
"It helped to normalize what I was doing to myself."
Sara said
."I never knew that I wanted a thigh gap. It felt like it was the same type of accomplishment that people wanted to achieve."

The sites had photos of girls that have died from eating disorders. This comforted Sara and made her think that she was OK because she wasn't 'as bad' as them.

Sara started getting better after ~4 months of treatment. Her therapist suggests her clients delete their Facebook pages because of the information it has
View Point #1
The media has unfair expectations of a woman's appearance. Images in the media today project an unrealistic standard of feminine beauty which has an influence on the way women view themselves. Magazine covers are filled with headlines of how we can mimic the appearance of celebrities. Cosmetic surgeries are growing in popularity by 30% each year, and in this celebrity obsessed world where celebrities are pin pointed as flawless and perfect it isn't a wonder why many women want to look like celebrities.

The media encourages girls to believe that there's always something they can improve about themselves; that they should never be satisfied.
Stacey's Opinion
The truth is that the female body is more objectified than that of the man. The pressure to be stick thin and sexy is one of the heaviest burdens that all women have to carry. Each girl handles it differently. People who suffer from eating disorders usually begin to have problems with the disease in their adolescent years; when they are still vulnerable to the media's effects. In fact, they are targeted because of this. It means that they'll buy more clothes, more diet pills, and more products to be skinny.
Lexi's Opinion
Flo's Opinion
The Media's Portrayal of Women
At some point in every girl's life, she has striven to match the media's portrayal of women. The media's portrayal of women is how the media sees the "perfect" woman.

In this presentation, we will discuss various viewpoints of which include: the expectations placed upon women, how the media affects girls, how there's 'always room for improvement', the fact that you
be judged on your looks, and how the "ideal beauty" is portrayed by social media.
View Point #4
Social media plays a huge role in creating the criteria for a "perfect" woman. Sites or apps such as Instagram, Ask.fm and Tumblr largely judge girls by their appearance. Young women are given "rates" based on how they look. Thigh gaps, collarbones, flat stomachs, and hipbones are worshiped, and girls are
ridiculed if their bones aren't
visible underneath their skin.
Ally's Opinion
I think that the media's portrayal of women is flat out ridiculous. Women have always been objectified in a way that we are supposed to be pleasing to the eye, but the ideal beauty is different for everyone. But when women go as far as to stop eating or throwing up to be someones idea of appealing because that is what we feel we need to do for someone to care for us, or as if our looks represent our self worth, you should understand that there is far too much attention placed on looks when personality is what should matter.
Some females even go so far as to create blogs dedicated to eating disorders. David Perberthy of the Sunday Telegraph writes, "Of all the sick and creepy subcultures which flourish on the Internet, few are more disturbing than the 'pro-ana' websites devoted to the celebration of anorexia not as a mental illness, but as a lifestyle choice."
Internet sites and cell phone apps send a message to women that they are not beautiful if they don't match the social media's idea of perfection.
Social media intensely criticizes young women based on their appearance.
I believe that the media's portrayal of women is not an accurate description of true beauty. I dislike how influenced young women are by the media's beauty standards, and I think that trying to match the "ideal gorgeous woman's" appearance is not a realistic goal.
It's truly amazing how far girls will go to meet the expectations that are set on women. They'll starve themselves till they are merely skin and bones, exercise to a state of extreme exhaustion and apply pounds of makeup to cover what is underneath that they find to be ugly. And yet, they still aren't satisfied.
The media teaches women that there is always something that can be changed for them to look even better. It's a never ending chain. Once they achieve one goal, it's off to the next.
This is how people die from anorexia and bulimia. They lose and lose but getting rid of that one extra pound will never be enough. They have to lose more and they will until the day that their bodies just give out.
People may then turn to plastic surgery when they run out of ways to "improve their image" without it. In addition to their own obsessions, they see other role models and celebrities doing it too. People like Megan Fox and Beyonce have undergone plastic surgery and are obviously beautiful women. Young girls and women strive to look like them by acting like them and doing the things that they do, even if they are sacrificing their health and well being in the process.
Salter, Jim. "Social Media Fuel Dangerous Weight-Loss Goal." Independence Examiner: n.p. Oct 04 2013. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 6 Feb. 2014 <http://sks.sirs.com>.
How far would you go to fit in? As you can now tell, many girls would and do go very far to fit in. But just because the media puts pressure on women, doesn't mean we can't defy it and live a healthy and happy life. In fact, the National Eating DisordeAssociation made its own site that supports posative body image and behaviors toards eating and weight. http://www.Proud2BMe.org
Attia E (2010). "Anorexia Nervosa: Current Status and Future Directions". Annual Review of Medicine 61 (1): 425–35. doi:10.1146/annurev.med.050208.200745. PMID 19719398.

Penberthy, David. "Websites That Make You Want to Vomit." Sunday Telegraph. Sept. 4, 2011. www.sks.sirs.com
When teenagers develop anorexia, it is likely that they will have it throughout early adulthood as well if it goes untreated.
Anorexia is a disease that you carry with you for the rest of your life even after recovery, similar to alcoholism. I think that we need to stop shoving images of "ideal women" in the faces of the younger generations so that the media has less of an effect on young people and hopefully reduce the amount of cases of eating disorders.
Our Essential Questions
What effects does the media's portrayal of females have on women and girls?
What "goals" or "expectations" set regarding how a girl should look?
What do women do to achieve those goals?
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