Beauty Standards and Media Influence on Body Image

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Words: 1099 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

Words: 1099|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

Beauty standards portrayed in media images have a significant impact on body image in today's society. While some experts argue that these standards have positive effects, there is a significant amount of evidence suggesting otherwise. Celebrities and advertisements often encourage young people to strive for specific body images, disregarding their own unique characteristics. It is crucial to be aware of this influence in order to minimize the negative effects. The growing influence of media and beauty standards on body image is a complex trend that requires careful attention.

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Iconic figures and massive advertisements are encountered by most people on a daily basis, particularly through the internet. Adolescents, in particular, are aware of societal pressures and standards, and media models often serve as targets for self-appraisal and social comparison (Lewallen & Behm-Morawitz, 2016). However, it is unreasonable to compare oneself to popular models whose job is to look thin and attractive. Additionally, iconic figures and advertisements may indirectly promote body dissatisfaction by encouraging individuals to undergo cosmetic surgery. Research by Jung and Hwang (2016) found that celebrities serve as a reference group for many Americans and influence their likelihood of having cosmetic surgery. People see beautiful faces and attractive bodies of iconic figures in their fifties in the media and desire to achieve the same look with minimal effort. Furthermore, advertisers often use sexually charged campaigns that create the perception that individuals are not sexually attractive. This can lead to unrealistic expectations and negative self-perception.

The increasing significance of social networks, such as Instagram, plays a critical role in shaping and distributing current beauty standards. Instagram, which sees over 95 million photos shared per day, has become a primary contributor to public opinion on beauty standards (Franchina, 2018). Users are constantly exposed to a stream of images that can be both inspiring and cause dissatisfaction. Many people also share their own photos, attempting to present their best selves and sometimes deceiving their followers. This is a common practice on Instagram and other social networks, and it can be quite concerning. Social media users also receive feedback on their appearance, which becomes a crucial tool in assessing one's body and shaping one's perspective. Exposure to appearance comments has been found to significantly increase body dissatisfaction (Tiggemann & Barbato, 2018). It is important to recognize that people are more likely to share negative comments on social media than in real life. Additionally, others' feedback is often visible to a person's followers or interested individuals, exacerbating the negative impact. The number of likes a post receives can also have adverse effects, leading to anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem.

While there are some positive effects of beauty standards and media figures on body image, a cautious attitude is necessary. Attractive iconic figures, bloggers, and random individuals can inspire people to work hard to improve their appearance. The popularity of activities like running and yoga has grown globally due to their promotion on social media. Additionally, a healthy lifestyle is often encouraged through the use of social media, where individuals seek inspiration, support, and join different communities (Muzaqeer & Ahmad, 2020). Social media is also a platform where young adults receive tips on healthy eating and recipes, which can be highly beneficial (Klassen et al., 2018). Furthermore, celebrities and social media influencers promote diversity to avoid negative feedback from the public. They encourage embracing differences and challenge the idea of a single beauty ideal. This broader perspective is changing people's perception of beauty standards and promoting acceptance of various characteristics.

However, the negative effects of beauty standards are currently more predominant and manifest in various ways. Firstly, the obsession with achieving the popular skinny image has led to an increase in eating disorders since the 1970s (Laham, 2020). Many people lack the necessary resources and knowledge to improve their appearance in a healthy way, leading them to seek shortcuts that can have adverse health consequences. Secondly, constant exposure to beautiful faces on social media leads to low self-esteem. Images of friends posted online significantly reduce body-esteem and result in negative evaluations of one's own body (Franchina, 2018). It is important to recognize that many social media users present a curated version of themselves, often using makeup and filters to enhance their appearance. Lastly, negative body image caused by social media and advertisements can push people to undergo cosmetic interventions despite the potential health risks. Perception of cosmetic surgery varies based on photography editing applications and social media use, leading to impulsive decisions that are later regretted (Chen et al., 2019).

In conclusion, media images and beauty standards have a substantial influence on defining and evaluating body image. Viewing portfolios of celebrities and photos posted by friends and acquaintances on social networks shapes individuals' perceptions of desirable appearance. While this may inspire individuals to improve themselves, it often has unfavorable consequences. Severe eating disorders, insecurities, and decreased life satisfaction are among the negative outcomes. Therefore, understanding the effects of beauty standardsin media and taking a critical approach to their influence is crucial in minimizing these negative effects. It is essential for individuals to recognize that the beauty standards portrayed in media are often unrealistic and unattainable for the average person. Instead of striving for an idealized image, it is important to focus on self-acceptance and embracing one's own unique characteristics.

Education and awareness are key in addressing the impact of media on body image. Schools and parents should incorporate media literacy programs to teach young people how to critically analyze and question the images they see in the media. This can help individuals develop a more realistic understanding of beauty and body image. Additionally, promoting diversity and inclusivity in media representation is vital. By showcasing a wide range of body types, ethnicities, and appearances, individuals can feel more represented and accepted.

Furthermore, individuals should be encouraged to cultivate a positive relationship with their bodies. This can be achieved through self-care practices such as engaging in physical activities that are enjoyable and promote overall well-being, rather than solely focusing on appearance. Surrounding oneself with positive influences, such as supportive friends and communities, can also contribute to a healthier body image.

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In conclusion, media images and beauty standards have a significant impact on body image in today's society. While there may be some positive aspects to these standards, such as promoting healthy lifestyles and diversity, the negative effects cannot be ignored. It is crucial for individuals to be aware of the influence of media, develop critical thinking skills, and cultivate a positive relationship with their bodies. By doing so, we can minimize the negative effects of beauty standards and promote a more inclusive and accepting society.

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Beauty Standards and Media Influence on Body Image. (2024, February 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“Beauty Standards and Media Influence on Body Image.” GradesFixer, 12 Feb. 2024,
Beauty Standards and Media Influence on Body Image. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
Beauty Standards and Media Influence on Body Image [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 12 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from:
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