Body image came about because of the way people compared themselves to others because people are exposed to countless images in the media and ads about what the “perfect” body should look like, these media images and ads become the basis of people’s comparisons. When people start to believe these images and think that they’re body isn’t substandard, they can suffer from depression, anorexia, bulimia, low self esteem, and eating disorders. The influence the media has on body image can be seen as ironic, considering that people in the United States and even other countries have become out of shape and overweight, female models that society portrays have become thinner and male models have become more muscular. Many psychologist and sociologist have created many theories pertaining to how the media influences body image, these theories such as self-comparison theory, self-schema theory, third-person effects and self-discrepancy theory. These scientist have also came up with interventions to put off the negative impact of unreal media images. These scientist believe that society promotes these false images in order to advertise body-dissatisfaction because it helps promote diets costing billion of dollars and self improvement industry products.
As much as society plays a role in the way we see ourselves, body image is both internal and external. Internal views include how we perceive our bodies visually, how we feel about our physical appearance, how we think and talk to ourselves about bodies and our sense of how other people view our bodies. How we look has never held as much societal importance or reflected so significantly on our self-worth. If you think about it, when were little , around elementary school years, we don’t really care how we look or how our parents dress us. It was never as important until we started middle school. The year we started puberty, boys liking girls and vice versa and that’s the age we usually received phones and that’s where social influence rolls in. That’s when celebrities and society starts having an influence on what is “in” and what isn’t. Internal views are how we view ourselves without the input of society but then when society puts this standard on certain things that’s when external views come in. External views are how society judges and influences us. Society gives us a number of things that shape our perceptions whether it be positive or negative. When it comes to our bodies there are a number of sources that affect us more than others.
These sources may include our own family members, the media, our favorite celebrity, and even our best friends. Positive body image involves understanding that healthy attractive bodies come in all different shapes and sizes and that there is more to us than just our looks. Body image is more than just skin deep. But society plays such a widespread role on this, according to an article “The Influence of Societal Factors On Female Body Image,” A study was designed to identify factors associated components of female body image. It was stated that societal factors were thought to mediate the relationship we have with our bodies. In this study they also included body mass and age as an independent variable. A total of one hundred and one university female students from Australia ages eighteen to fifty five participated in the study and in this study it was found that on average four percent of women underestimated their bodies. These women typically wanted to be smaller than their size. About two fifths of these women expressed negative feelings about individual body parts and their body as a whole. This study showed that the perception of their bodies was not from the independent variables, age and mass but that body satisfaction was best explained from societal factors, self esteem and BMI. Another article I read showed that many disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, depression and anxiety are caused by society’s influence on body image.
These are long term issues whereas body image may not be. Many girls and even males restrict the numbers of calories they eat because they may believe they are overweight even if they are extremely thin. Being underweight is just as unhealthy as being overweight and that’s what no one seems to realize because of the image society puts out there. Being underweight can cause just as many risks as being overweight. People that follow the media’s view on this ideal body image may diet excessively in order to have their body match the images they see which can cause disorders such as bulimia or anorexia. In the United States and other countries, the overall rate of eating disorders has increased. The media plays a huge effect on youth because teens start to diet excessively in order to gain that “perfect” body that media puts out. These diets causing disorders such as depression, anorexia, bulimia, and even bipolar disorder. Some of these disorders even long-term and can last forever, which is the one thing the ideal body cannot do. Body dissatisfaction causes eating disorders and many other harmful effects. Society causes many effects on body image, some that may even last forever. People with these disorders are considered unhealthy and even unattractive.
Many of us want to be healthy and the risk of obesity are known, but we need to understand that being healthy can come in all different shapes and sizes. It is imperative to know that the ideal body image presented by the media is not healthy. The ideal body weight of women is one hundred twenty pounds meaning her body mass index is about seventeen point two and doctors consider anything under eighteen point five to be underweight. This shows how even society’s view on the ideal body image isn’t healthy nor ideal. Society’s ideal body image isn’t ideal and the media causes this dangerous influence on body image. Everyone has their own idea of what the “perfect body image” may be but we are heavily influenced by society and the media. Society’s expectations color our beliefs about the ideal body image and sometimes this can create problems or cause harm. Society and the media tell us what kind of body image we should strive for and those images may not even be healthy for us.
People come in all shapes and sizes and people of all shapes and sizes can be attractive and even healthy. In past years, curvy women were actually considered to be more attractive but now in this generation or year in time that doesn’t seem to be the case. If we look at society’s ideal body image for women, the perfect body image would be a woman who was about five foot ten and weighed only one hundred twenty pounds, whereas the average American women are five foot four and weighs about one hundred seventy pounds. That’s a big difference between the two. As for men society’s ideal body image would be a male who is about six foot one and weighs one hundred ninety pounds but the average male is five foot nine and weigh about one hundred ninety pounds. The perfect body image is a term that keeps changing as the years go by. This shows how there is never a “perfect” body if it is always changing. Due to this we need to get people to judge themselves less critically. But we first need to figure out why people listen to society’s view on body image anyways. Society and the media play such a huge role and the media is everywhere we go so it may be hard to ignore when it is everywhere you go. Being healthy comes in all shapes and sizes, whether you are a size two or a size twenty two being healthy is more important after all these are just numbers on a piece of clothing and a scale. They don’t actually affect who you are and what’s on the inside.