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Female Portrayal in the Media

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Women and the Media
Samantha Heintzelman
Sociology 150-04
October 9, 2014

Women and the Media

How are young women affected by how the media portrays them? Though there are many articles today in magazines preaching about being body positive; there are still many publications that portray a certain “look” to their models. Long eyelashes, plump lips, messy but still cute hair, thin, and with bigger breasts is the image of the Victoria Secret models that show women that in order to be looked at as “beautiful” or “sexy” you must look like those “perfect” models. I hypothesize that young women are negatively affected by these images of women in the media. Through experiment this proposal will show that even though there are many articles about being body positive the images of the “perfect” looking women will still poorly affect how the women view themselves and will make them strive for an unrealistic perfection.

Women and the Media

Many studies have shown that I women magazines there are more weight loss ads and that women have a harder time dealing with body image than men. Research has also shown that more and more women at a younger age are worried about their weight, and try something whether it be healthy dieting or an eating disorder to try and reach their “ideal” weight. Though all this research is accurate and well put together it still does not answer the question ‘why women who read articles about body positivism still feel negatively towards themselves?’
Therefore, my question is: Are women (ages 18-30) in the United States poorly affected by seeing images of Victoria Secret models even after reading body positive articles? I hypothesize that yes, even after reading the body positive articles the women will still feel bad about their own appearance after seeing the Victoria Secret models. Through an experiment and short interview I will find if my hypothesis is correct or not.
Study Design:
To set up my study I will gather a random sample of around 30 women ages varying from 18 – 30, body type varying, and race varying. I will ask them all to read the same three articles on being body positive. After they are done reading I will then sit them down individually and ask them if the article made them feel better about themselves and their appearance. Then I will have the same women go back into the room but instead of reading body positive articles I will have them look at 3 images; these images being of Victoria Secret models Miranda Kerr, Adriana Lima, and Candice Swanepole in the 2014 Victoria Secret Fashion Show. And again once all Women are done studying the images of the models I will take them individually and ask them how looking at those models makes them feel about themselves even after reading the body positive articles. Since I am only using a small population of women from the United States with varying ages I will not be able to express that what I find is true for
Women and the Media

all women, but for most.
This research will not put human subjects at any risk of physical, emotional, social, or economic harm. To insure the privacy of my subjects I will only ask for an age/birthdate and go by a no name base; I will label my subjects by age and that is it. All forms of the IRB guidelines are appropriate for my study. No changes will need to be made to the Consent Form template for this study.
Data Analysis:
To analyze my data I will record the answers the women gave me when asked about how the articles and images made them feel about themselves and put similar answers together until I have a statistic. The result that I hope to find if my hypothesis is correct is that most if not all women said that even though reading the body positive articles somewhat helped them feel better about themselves the images of the Victoria Secret model was overpowering and made them feel like they had to change many things about themselves in order to be beautiful. The result I expect to find if my hypothesis is wrong is that the women will say that the body positive articles made them feel so comfortable with themselves that seeing the Victoria Secret models did not affect how they look at themselves.

Kasey L. Serdar (2013, May). Female Body Image and the Mass Media: Perspectives on How Women Internalize the Ideal Beauty Standard. Retrieved from:
Body Image. Retrieved from:
David Croteau, & William Hoynes. (2013). Experience Sociology. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

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