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Media's Impact on Body Image and Health Consequences

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Words: 747 |

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4 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Words: 747|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

There are great ethical issues surrounding the known impacts of media on the perceived body image, and how these shifts in perspective are a leading cause of certain medical issues. In the United States, photographs that hit media platforms in mass distribution are often photoshopped to portray the current ‘perfect’ version of the human body. Often the final image depicted is not even a possible structure of the human body. These same images have been proven to carry great impact on how we view others and ourselves. The media is well known for their influence on their subscribers, often starting new trends in apparel, material purchases and influencing thought and moral. These platforms possess the ability to change what we as consumers may consider as beautiful, helpful, useful, good or bad. There are few restrictions on how these platforms can share materials, allowing them to spread non-factual information or distorted pictures of the human body that appeal to our psyche but not our health.

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From a business aspect, it makes sense to do what sells. If you need to follow trends, create new ones, fabricate stories or tell one sided exciting ‘truths’, why not. If sex sells more than a magazine about good reads, then sex it is. These companies put a lot of resources into the discovery of what is current, new and exciting. They are willing to pay big bucks to have designers provide input on how to be different and ‘push the envelope’. Companies are willing to do this because the return will be greater than the amounts spent on discovery; they are in the business of sell, sell, sell.

From a consumer aspect, it is a win/lose situation. While these magazines may provide temporary enjoyment as they are read, or provide you with the next biggest thing so you can exploit the trend for popularity, it is generally a lose in the long run. The perception of body image is often skewed to an unattainable body, and the attempts to attain the tiny waste line often leads to very unhealthy lifestyles. Young girls influenced by such depictions of beauty in the media often develop eating disorders or manipulate their diet to the new fad, seriously contradicting their health. “In 2011, the American Medical Association released findings showing that the alteration of photographs in advertising to enhance models’ bodies was linked to eating disorders; a year later the Agency for Healthcare Research also noted that there was a 119% rise in hospitalizations for eating disorders among children during the years when Photoshopping became widespread.” We are putting beauty over health and denying that healthy is beautiful.

These forms of mass media, which are so influential to the consumer, should have ethical regulations to prevent them from influencing the public in ways that are detrimental to their health. In Israel, it is against the law to photoshop women for the use in media without a clear disclaimer. The same law also states that they must have a BMI of at least 18.5 which is the lowest considered ‘normal’ without falling into an unhealthy category. They not only portray real body images and support the concept that there are many different types, and all have beauty, but they are not promoting their subscribers to engage in unhealthy activities and compromising their health for appearance. If we are able to turn this around and promote healthy lifestyle and healthy body images, we can interrupt the growing health problems that poor body image causes. Turning around body image is not easy, but has strong potential to save lives and prevent acute and chronic medical conditions. It can also save a lot of money in both the medical industries and the media. The medical industry would be saving money on treatments, prevention and care allocated to those struggling with such issues, while the media would have less need to pay for the work of photoshop. I know that it’s difficult to take the risk of providing something that may or may not sell, however there are companies in the United States that have signed the Anti-Photoshopping pledge and have encouraging sales numbers. If not for the aspect of saving money, it needs to be done for the saving of lives, which should be put well above the concept of beauty.

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References

  1. Center for Israel Education (2012) Kinesset Passes “Photoshop Law”. Retrieved November 14, 2019 from https://israeled.org/knesset-passes-photoshop-law/.
  2. Segran, Elizabeth, Ph.D. (October 2014) How To Solve The Anti-Photoshopping Movement’s Big Problem. Retrieved October 14, 2019 from https://www.fastcompany.com/3037723/how-to-solve-the-anti-photoshopping-movements-big-problem
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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Media’s Impact on Body Image and Health Consequences. (2024, February 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/medias-impact-on-body-image-and-health-consequences/
“Media’s Impact on Body Image and Health Consequences.” GradesFixer, 13 Feb. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/medias-impact-on-body-image-and-health-consequences/
Media’s Impact on Body Image and Health Consequences. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/medias-impact-on-body-image-and-health-consequences/> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Media’s Impact on Body Image and Health Consequences [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 13 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/medias-impact-on-body-image-and-health-consequences/
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