Free Essay

Media: Mirror of Society

In: Social Issues

Submitted By clibreri
Words 2036
Pages 9
Media: Mirror of Society

Everywhere in the world, society keeps evolving and changing. The thoughts, mindsets, and ideas of cultures all over the world are constantly changing due to the influences of what they see. The media has always had a role in the construction of an individual’s body image and ideal self. In the article “How does the media influence our thoughts on body image?” Kayhan, Baig, Mehmi and Basra argue that during the early 20th century the ideal, beautiful woman was 5’4 tall and about 140 pounds with a small mid-section; yet, for some if not most women, in order to achieve a small waist they would be put into a Victorian hourglass corset, which shrunk the woman’s waist to a much smaller size, we still see these tactics used by today’s women. This issue isn’t only occurring in the United States, it is a worldwide problem that continues to grow. The media uses the social elite, such as athletes and actresses, to advertise products and goods; the use of these models can have significant outcomes, both negative and positive, on individuals in our society. The positive being that viewers of these magazines that advertise skinny models and fit athletes may be influenced to change their lifestyle from unhealthy to healthy. The negative being that viewer’s want to take the quickest and easiest ways in order to achieve results, which can lead to dangerous side effects and habits. So the question is, is it even worth it to try to look perfect if dangerous methods have to be used? We see all over the world, individuals trying to look their best by working out consistently, dieting, or both. All of which are done with one goal in mind, too look good to yourself and everyone else. Most of time individuals don’t try to look perfect for themselves but also for society. We try to adjust the standards of beauty and fitness that are perceived in magazines and ads. We construct the perfect self by picking up traits society wants to see. Csikszentmihalyi states in his essay, “What Is the Self?” that human perfection has been promoted throughout history and perfection is part of our nature (274). The idea of the perfect body hasn’t just evolved recently; it has been a part of the construction of selfhood for many centuries. People worry more about conforming to society’s image than being themselves nowadays, which takes a toll on individuals mentally because they might not be able to live up to society’s standards. Some individuals will try anything in order to look good. Individuals base their idea of the perfect body off of magazines and fitness ads such as Muscle and Fitness or Vogue; what they don’t know is that most of these models weren’t blessed with great bodies but that they worked hard to look the way they do and fitness and beauty doesn’t come easily. Viewers and consumers of magazines and fitness ads try to achieve their dream body if they don’t already have it. It’s in our human nature to try to be fit because being out of shape isn’t what attracts the opposite sex. That’s the overall goal, to look appealing to the opposite sex and to make the same sex envy your body. Unfortunately, this idea is now believed to be one of the only ways that individuals will find their soul mate or life partner, and that is through being physically attractive at first sight. This is a big reason as to why being fit has become the main desire of society and it is becoming a rapidly growing problem in our world. Kayhan, Baig, Mehmi and Basra state that body image is the main crisis in most young males and females today:
The media's influence on our perception of body images has become one of the most significant crisis's in the lives of young males and females. The sources of mass media… manipulate society through unrealistic or unhealthy thin body images that paint the picture of perfection of what true beauty should be.
Even though body image issues have an effect on the ideas of women, this theory doesn’t specify the effect the media has on males in terms of being muscular and lean. When it comes to body images, males want to be buff and stronger because that is what establishes their dominance. Muscular men receive more respect than skinny men because muscles and strength exemplify supremacy and strike fear into those that are around them. Fitness enthusiast who are willing to make major changes to their body also have to make major changes to their lifestyle, which can be both positive and negative. Michelle Healy states in her article, “Teens eager to get buff try multiple means for Muscle,” that it’s common for teenagers to turn to diet, exercising, supplements, and even steroids in order to achieve or surpass their body development goals (Healy).
The media uses representations in order to get their models to look the best they can. Eagles guitar player Glenn Fry was featured in an advertisement for the Chicago Health and Racquetball Club featured in the Chicago Sun Times during the late 1990’s; the advertisement contained two photos, the first with Fry having flowing hair, a mustache, droopy eyes, and baggy clothing, the second with Fry being cleanly shaved, cropped hair, and tighter clothing curling a dumbbell (Jackson and Andrews 232). These types of ads are what paved the way for the ideology of the body perfection and fitness that we see today. The pursuit of physical beauty is brainwashing the young causing them to resort to extraordinary measures that are not needed in order to achieve the goals they want. Healy also states that in a study published in Pediatrics, 12% of boys and 6% girls confessed to using certain muscle enhancing behaviors. This study clearly shows that men are willing to use other means in order to achieve their body goals. Brendan Gough also supports these accusations by stating in his article, “The Psychology of Men's Health: Maximizing Masculine Capital,” that men have more interest in physicality, which leads to abusing steroids (Gough 1). Most of the time teens only think about using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) for a short while but they don’t realize the long-term effects that even one cycle can do to their body. When finishing a cycle of steroids, certain post cycle therapies need to be taken in order to restore hormonal and metabolic levels back to normal; then the individual won’t experience severe side effects such as liver malfunction or an enlarged prostate. The effect these advertisements have on our teenagers in today’s society are frightening because they don’t know if they are truly harming their body until they end up in the hospital or needing surgery. Through proper nutrition and exercise programs, teenagers have the ability to build muscle naturally. Their energy levels and metabolism are still high enough to do so, whereas adults may need PEDs in order to lose fat or build muscle. The need to be muscular is mostly due to trying to enhance performance in sports also. “Some critics argue that the sporting discourse provides a prime site for the construction of “maleness” (Mason 27). This quote, taken from the article "Looking Into Masculinity: Sport, Media And The Construction Of The Male Body Beautiful," states that sports have become a main role in the construction of a males self.
Muscularity and strength are the worldwide symbols that exemplify dominance among those who participate in fitness and sport. The pressure to perform up to standards set by society can be too much for any athlete, and when the pressure becomes to stressful they seek help. Yet, the types of help they seek are the ones that will get them the results the quickest and easiest way. What most individuals don’t understand is that when using PED’s it still takes intense workouts and extreme nutrition to achieve superior results; steroids just give a boost to the body’s internal functions that aid in muscle growth and recovery. Even though steroids are very beneficial to increasing muscle mass and performance, is it really worth the consequences and side effects it has on the body? The expectations set by an individual’s coach, teammates, opponents, and themselves can have a major toll on them mentally; not only do they have to live up to their own expectations but they have to meet the other’s expectations. Society has expectations and standards that sometimes cannot be reached, which causes individuals to idolize and visualize models or athletes they consider their role models. The media has instilled the thought of looking abnormally skinny into the minds of many young females throughout the world today. Kayhan, Baig, Mehmi and Basra state that the media knows the impact they have on the body image of their viewers and consumers:
Media influence upon our thoughts of body image has come to affect yet not only, young but also the older generations as well, to visualize and idealize these unrealistic abnormal body images, from television screens and magazine advertisements toward themselves, causing them to suffer through the unnecessary pain of self-objectification and self-punishment (Kayhan, Baig, Mehmi and Basra).
The media influences the minds of individuals more and more as time goes on and that’s the way it’ll always be. Even though the media is mostly to blame for this trending issue, they shouldn’t be accused of everything that happens. As humans we need to be mentally stronger and capable of rejecting theories and ideas of what’s “in” and how everyone should look. Being able to standup to peer pressure and push it aside is a big part of who an individual is and defines their mental capabilities to look past what society thinks. The media doesn’t cause self-mutilation and drug usage, only the idea of having the perfect body but neither of these actions are needed in order to achieve any type of body image goals. The media’s use of extremely skinny models and unrealistically muscular and tone athletes is one of the main causes for body image issues in individuals today. The argument shows that it isn’t only the media’s fault for advertising whatever models or fitness models they choose, but the consumer/viewer who chooses to mutilate their body is too blame also because they want to achieve their goals in the quickest way possible without doing much of the work that is needed. Being fit and healthy shows that that individual cares about their health and fitness and continue this lifestyle for their satisfaction or society’s approval. Steven Jackson and David Andrews state that being fit will allow us to live our lives under some sort of control, “Having a fit body signified that we have our lives under control and living in the best way we can” (234). Having the perfect body doesn’t make an individual a perfect person. Society has made it a necessity too look good, because if someone doesn’t look good they can be judged in a way that doesn’t really show who they truly are. Hopefully my readers can use this information to help themselves or anyone else they know that has fallen to the peer pressure of trying to look “perfect.”
Works Cited

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. "What Is The Self?" Mind Readings. Ed. Gary Colombo. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2002. 264-281. Print.
Gough, B. (2013). “The Psychology of Men's Health: Maximizing Masculine Capital”. Health Psychology, 32(1), 1-4. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0030424
Healy, Michelle, "Teens eager to get buff try multiple means for muscles." USA Today: Academic Search Premier. 25 Mar. 2013. Web.
Jackson, Steven J., and David L. Andrews. Sport, Culture and Advertising: Identities, Commodities and the Politics of Representation. London: Routledge, 2005. Print.
Kayhan, Sumeyra, Sanaz Mirza Baig, Harpal Mehmi, and Alycia Basra. "How Does the Media Influence Our Thoughts on Body Image?" AS/PSYC1010 Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.
Mason, Gay. "Looking Into Masculinity: Sport, Media And The Construction Of The Male Body Beautiful." Social Alternatives 11.1 (1992): 27-32. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Mar. 2013. .

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Essay On Media Mirror Society

...Although many argue that there are two ways to approach the study of the relationship between media and society - media shape society and media mirror society -, others believe that media actually do both, shape and mirror society. Scholars, anyways, agree on one point: media present a selected view of the world, with a particular perspective. In this class we have been talking about how media are able to distort news more than once, and we got interested in how it happens. We found out that the process is actually quite easy and fast; therefore, we tried to understand if media are able to distort even news that are breaking news. Taking as a case study the Bruxelles attack we analyzed the Fox News coverage and the CNN coverage. The first bomb exploded at 8am (Belgian time) and the second at 9 am, when in America was still night. By looking at the two video, we experienced that both CNN and Fox News chronologically started to contract the news in four steps: first, they tried to identify the enemy, and speculate on who was behind the attack; second, they identified the target and the outcomes of the explosions; third, they started to...

Words: 1059 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Does Advertising Mirror or Shape Society

...ASSESSMENT 1: TUTORIAL REPORT 1 DOES ADVERTISING MIRROR OR SHAPE SOCIETY? Table of Contents Table of Contents.................................................................................................................................................... 1 Executive summary ................................................................................................................................................ 2 Discussion ............................................................................................................................................................... 3 The evolution of advertising and it’s roles in business and society ........................................................................ 3 Analysis of the agency structure and its key players .............................................................................................. 4 The process of developing an effective advertising campaign ............................................................................... 5 Summary of Findings .............................................................................................................................................. 6 References .............................................................................................................................................................. 6 Executive summary The argument of whether advertising mirrors or shapes society has been going on for a long time. According...

Words: 2376 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Mirror By Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll

...not, Confucius has an excellent point. Humans perceive beauty through themselves. With the complexity that is humanity, interpretations lead to beauty that a mere handful could witness. In modern society, perceptions are frequently biased. Sylvia Plath’s “Mirror” forces an objective outlook upon the reader to hint at an inward struggle with beauty. Likewise, Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll” depicts the life of a woman who sold her life in the pursuit of elegance. Most women are brought up to unrealistic standards that “guarantee” beauty if one plays along. Like a carnival game without winners, pursuing positive self-image could become an endless battle to some. Society, through various forms of media, discombobulates a desired appearance to heighten self-pity in women. To countless minds, beauty is everything. Using self-hatred wastelands also known as social media platforms, society influences entire populations. The poems “Mirror” and “Barbie Doll” enlighten this problem, however in times even before the digital age. To start, “Mirror” portrays a woman's loss of innocence through self-pity. As the woman in the poem looks for acceptable features in...

Words: 697 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Airbrushing In Society

...live in a society that seems to contradict this very idea. If looks do not matter, why does the media use airbrushing to hide any flaws a model has? If looks do not matter, why do so many teenage women suffer from low self-esteem? If looks really do not matter, why do so many young women struggle with eating disorders? It is because our society promotes a certain body image as being beautiful, and it’s a far cry from the average woman’s size 12. A common issue young women face in today’s society is the airbrushing of models in the media, creating an impossible ideal for these young women to strive for. The unrealistic standard of beauty that women are bombarded with everyday gives them a goal that is impossible to reach, and the effects are devastating....

Words: 1383 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

History of Ads

...advertising a mirror of society? Or an agent of change? The basic premise is something like this: if advertising is a mirror of society, then the advertising industry is not really to blame for all the problems associated with bad advertising. We’re to blame.” Introduction Advertising is the process of communication whereby a person or group of people are persuaded to take some form of action, usually to make a purchase or participate in a particular behaviour. Studies undertaken by the Media Awareness Network estimate that on average, the typical North American will see 3000 ads per day (2010). With such a high level of advertising around consumers every day, is it likely that advertising shapes society, or that it merely mirrors pre-existing social trends? This is important because should advertising shape society, the high numbers of advertisements in existence could have a substantial impact to society’s wellbeing, as well as the ethical issues surrounding the messages and behaviours advertisers are trying to achieve. The question of advertising as a mirror vs. creator of culture is one of the most debated issues of the relationship between advertising and society. Does the image of woman represented in advertising shapes society or mirrors already prevailing social trends? Hypothesis The advertising media produces messages,images and ideas of woman, which therefore affect the process of social change. Conclusion The controversy between critical media sociologists...

Words: 1258 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

How Does The Media Dehumanize Women

...Media suggests that women should be portrayed as objects of beauty, leisure, sex and nurture. In my opinion it is apparent that media shapes society and gives woman unrealistic goals for what they feel they should look like. This in turn, ruins their self-worth and self-esteem. Some experts say that media mirrors culture, while others say the media shapes culture (Luttrell). I strongly believe that advertising dehumanizes woman, destroys self-esteem and distorts the view of woman in society. First of all, the way ads portray women is very dangerous. It’s not only dangerous to women, but it’s also dangerous to all of society. Women in ads are seen as flawless and perfectly beautiful. The only problem is, this beauty cannot be achieved....

Words: 1546 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Liking Is for Cowards

...Is the social media corrupting the youth of the world? The technology in our modern society affects the youth in many ways. “We star in our own movies, we photograph ourselves incessantly, we click the mouse and a machine confirms our sense of mastery.” The social media is like a machine that creates an imaginary self-image of its users. In the essay “Linking Is For Cowards. Go For What Hurts” published by Times Magazine May 28, 2011, is the author, Jonathan Franzen, describing how the social media has influence on the youth of our modern society and furthermore how love is affected by the social media and how real love should be like. The title “Linking Is For Cowards. Go for what hurts” refers to the Facebook-function “like” which is basically just a command which is an expression for your interest in a status/picture etc. This function though, has a negative side-effect according to Jonathan Franzen, “But if you consider this in human terms, and you imagine a person defined by a desperation to be liked, what do you see? You see a person without integrity [..] You see a narcissist” by this quote, he tries to inform the audience about his attitude to the subject that the social media emerges narcissists. The subject is the social media and its effect on the society as well as the comparison of the facebook “likes” and real love. This is an ideal subject as approximately 95% of the audience, which are the College students of Kenyon College, uses a social media and most have...

Words: 1103 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Barbie Isn't Real

...years, the media has been indulging society with the images and videos of what everyone is supposed to be, by their norms. Although more and more teens are texting, and not only could that result in ignorance of English proficiency, but also the loss of lives due to texting and driving; the media is creating these images we are supposed to live up to and therefore influencing Americans to change rather than focusing on issues such as texting. The media influences society to live up to these standards that are unrealistic, not healthy, and not accurate. You can pick up the latest issue of any magazine and that front cover photograph has been altered from the original to appeal to us all, and to an unrealistic manner. With the average woman weighing at 147 pounds, in comparison to the average runway model weighing at 110 pounds (Sexton, Timothy). This is a dramatic difference and young girls will believe that a model is their standard. All these unrealistic images are not only making women feel inferior but also not proud of their bodies. (Sands, Breezy). It is unclear to look at a high end fashion magazine and feel that you are not the best just because of the woman in a smaller dress size. From make up products to the latest trendy diets everyone is trying, yet no one is gaining anything from it, but temporary results. Being forced to look at these images at a young age creates society into thinking it is right. With all these influential images in the media, they are causing...

Words: 784 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Tabloid Journalism

...Abstract Tabloid Journalism is a part of American society that is continuing to grow more popular, and become a cultural custom. Tabloids started as a small newspaper back in 1903 with Yellow Journalism and now there are magazines, television networks, websites, and phone applications. Fascination with celebrity lifestyle has always been around and because of the mass amount of tabloids it is easier for the average American to receive information. Keywords: Tabloid, Journalism, Society, Culture, Celebrity, Yellow, Sensationalism, Magazine, Newspaper, History. “Bill Clinton: I Screwed up with Monica” is what the headline on the National Enquirer website read yesterday morning, should we care? If so, why do we care? Celebrity tabloids have become a standard to individuals in society whether it is liked or disliked. While standing in line at the grocery store, waiting at the checkout, it is hard not to notice the headlines on the magazines next to us reading absurd things such as “Michael Jackson Found Alive At Disneyland” or “Male Able to Give Birth” and although we know how crazy these things look, we still find ourselves flipping through the pages and let our curiosity get the best of us. Tabloids are found in just about every vehicle of media, television, print, radio, and of course, the Internet. According to Miriam Webster Dictionary, a tabloid is compressed or condensed into small scope featuring stories of violence, crime, or scandal presented...

Words: 1937 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Misrepresentation Of Minorities In The Media

...Mass media is distorted mirror of society (Maneri and Wal). It is as if being held prisoner in a funhouse, the distortion of the mirror image slowly becomes reality and it is impossible to remember what life is really like. The news medium is one aspect of mass media that has contributed heavily to this distorted reality. Even though the news is supposed to remain objective, it seems as if racial biases have somehow made their way to the headlines. Can the consistent racial preference in the news enforce prejudice ideology through the public? The goal of this essay is to discuss the reason why behind misrepresentation of minorities in the news medium, and how the misrepresentation affects society. Even with minorities making up roughly one...

Words: 936 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Piaget Developmental Stages

...The perspective of people about their selves always originates from the thought of the other individual that how the others people perceive / see them. People may not bother that how they see themselves but they give it as the significant importance that how people see them. We shape our mental self-portrait as the impressions of the reaction and assessments of others in our surroundings. The idea of the mirror self-hypothesis constitutes the foundation of the sociological theory of socialization. The thought is that individuals in our nearby surroundings serve as the "mirrors" that reflect pictures of ourselves. As indicated by Cooley, this procedure has three stages. To the first stage is about the judgment and imagination of people that how one appear to someone else. . It is related without imagination second, we start imagining and speculating that what are the judgments and perceptions, people are making about us, particularly about our appearance. In conclusion, we start speculating that how the individual feels about us. A definitive result of all of the above process is that we frequently change our conducts and appearance, while taking into account how people feel about...

Words: 914 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Television Advertising

...In the age where media inhabits numerous conduits for the production of culture it is difficult to imagine culture without its mediated form, from television and comic books to fashion and postcards, culture is derived through a range of diverse vehicles. We experience our cultural life through media in various ways. Modern society is founded on universal law, enlightenment of reason and science is solution to social problems, utopia is possible (except the poor will always be poor); Western-centric humanism will save the world; mass consumption means mass employment and modern society contained in the grand narrative of history. Progressive social transformation of the post-modern turn will take us on new adventures; resituating science, technology, society & capitalism into a multi-perspective and multi-disciplinary framework. One attempt to account for the emergence of post-modern condition is the shift during the 20th century of the economic needs of capitalism from production to consumption. Reality is what we see fit by these various forms of seductive illusion. The prefix ‘post’ clearly implies a break, a relation to a period that has happened before. In the case of post-modernism the previous period is undoubtedly ‘modernism’. Thus, postmodernism refers to a breakdown of the distinction between culture and society - emergence of a social order in which the importance and power of the mass media and popular culture means that they govern and shape all forms of social relationships...

Words: 871 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Body Image in Today`S Society

...Body Image in Today`s Society Today we are invaded with perfect body images by the mass media, internet, and Smart phones. With a carful inside look we can discover that our society has changed during the past years. Today our body’s need to be in shape, often a self-check and careful attention on eating habits can affect our life for the better or for the worse. Everybody has a body image, and feeling about how it looks, and how other people think we look in front of them. The Image of the body can give a positive or a negative response, it depends on how we feel about our body parts, some of them good and other is not so good, this is a normal factor for human`s. Being in contact each day with this issue, I can honestly talk about how it effects the work environment, the trust and confidence that people have when talking to you. The image has a huge effect in society and everywhere and that may not be a good thing. The societies today are submerged with a stereo type and unrealistic images of physical appearance. People may forget what is important in life, sometime is it may be cool and it may be unhealthy. All around the world we are surrounded with malls selling the latest fashions, made to seem appealing by the media that advertises them. It is normal to follow the trend, and if people choose not to follow they are un-cool, or boring. By researching the argument, we found that is not only one specific gender, age, workplace, or culture but all people and background...

Words: 880 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Advertising Photoshopped Women

...Abstract In the United States, an estimated 50 percent of young women and girls are dissatisfied with their body image. This percentage can be as high as 80 percent according to some psychologists. In the last 20 years, this estimate has grown due to the increased use of digital enhancement used in media advertising, namely Photoshop. (Purtle, 2012) ("Mirror, mirror", n.d.) Studies have shown that American children receive an estimated 5,260 messages of attractiveness through the media, by adolescence. The United States also has the world’s highest rates of obesity and eating disorders. This statistic crosses a melting pot of backgrounds and cultures which eliminates any genetic reason; instead societal messages from the media should be addressed. (Ross, n.d.) Advertising Photoshopped Women Social problem Eating disorders in the United States has been a social problem for many years, with up to 24 million people of all ages and genders affected. 50 percent of these people also fit the criteria for depression and only 35 percent of these receive treatment. Considered a norm violation type of social problem, many eating disorders are directly and indirectly caused by the media advertising digitally altered body images in their campaigns. ("Eating disorders statistics", n.d.) Thus, the problem can now be considered a system-blame problem, which, blaming the system is only part of the truth behind eating disorders, and proves to absolve the person of responsibility for...

Words: 1019 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Advertising Ethics

...involves in presenting to a group, non-personal, oral or visual, openly sponsored message regarding disseminated through one or more media and is paid for by an identified sponsor.(William J. Stanton, 1986) Advertising is communication media that can be used to provoke customers to purchase the goods and services. For that we use various advertising media such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines, direct mail as well as hoardings. Businessmen apply more than one above mentioned media to attract the customers. They often try to select the most appropriate and suitable advertising media to reach towards the large number of customers. In addition to that they try to advertisein the eye catching places such as retail shop, bus, airport, train etc. Some Organizationsspend a lot of money for advertising to increase their sales. Some people spend more money for advertising, but they do not expect to enhance sales. They are political parties, active organizations, religious organizations, army etc. Some welfare organizations use informal advertising methods to advertise regarding their functions. $ 385 billion was spent on advertising by World’s people. From that amount, $ 155 billion was spent only by the USA. That auditing Company expects that the world advertising expenditure is exceeded than $ 500 billion in 2010.(Global Entertainment and Media Outlook Report, 2010) In this discussion, we should identify the objectives of advertising. Accordingly we identified following...

Words: 1608 - Pages: 7