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A common conception is that television controls a majority of the judgements processed by the youth. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 444 young Belgian women that examined the influence of reality television exposure on tanning behavior, the process of skin color darkening. Tanning behavior patterns are known to be a risk factor for the progression of skin cancer amongst young women. This study was conducted to explore whether or not, the internalization of sun tan ideals from media content and self-objectification could explicate this connection. An operational equation model created by the researchers disclose that watching reality television was connected to the internalization of sun tan ideals and self-objectification. Out of the two to three million individuals diagnosed with skin cancer each year, most are due to over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which can occur through natural sunlight or indoor tanning beds.
With a sizeable amount of individuals suffering the consequences of ultraviolet radiation, this hypothesis focuses on explaining tanning behaviors among female college students. The choice of young white women to expose themselves overly to UV radiation may be associated to the way appearance and sexual attractiveness are valued in Western cultures. With popular mass media being identified as the primary carrier of appearance-focused messages, reality television goes farther to emphasize the importance of appearance and what institutes an ideal appearance. Exposure to these body ideal appearances could entertain youths to adopt the media appearance ideal as part of their personal appearance standards through which they feel compelled to comply. This media content that portrays women with unrealistic ideal appearances may trigger self-objectification.
Self-objectification is the trend to observe oneself from an observer’s perspective, concentrating solely on one’s appearance and discounting one’s personality. Harmful consequences that can be a result of self-objectification are eating disorders and depression. This hypothesis aims to advance scholarly knowledge in three means. The first contribution being the combination of illustrative mechanisms underlying the relation concerning reality television and tanning behaviors. Seeking to find perspectives on the objectification of the body into research on health problems, in this case, reality television is the source of objectification of the body and health problems being ultraviolent exposure along with the risks. This contribution of the hypothesis desires to explain how media use may be related to youths’ participation in problematic behavior.
The second concept intended for research on this study is the internalization of appearance ideals from media content and the connections between these conceptions. Research has been done before on the internalization of appearance ideals from media content fixated on general beauty norms considering body shape and appearance, but this particular hypothesis explores whether internalization of tanned appearance ideals from media content may also clarify how media content entertains youth women to treat their bodies as a toy.
Finally, the last reasoning behind the hypothesis contributes to literature by centering on the gene of reality television. Reality television can be intensely influential for its popularity amongst youths and its representation of authentic people in real life situations, but in realism it is phony people in scripted situations. Messages presented by reality television support the belief that appearance is pliable and that women can and must strive to an ideal appearance. An online survey on the everyday life of female college students was used to collect the data for this study. Posted on several student media and social networking sites in Belgium, incentives were offered to enhance response.
The survey was also dispersed through the electronic network of high schools that offer an extra specialization year, to confirm the representativeness. By means of a six-point scale, one being almost never to six being almost always, respondents indicated how often they had watched each reality television show listed; self-objectification, internalization, and tanning behaviors were also recorded. The researchers’ findings are as follows. Prior research along with health campaigns have advised the public of the health consequences of ultraviolent exposure to become tanner. However, this study reveals that young white women remain to participate in tanning behavior, thus voluntarily being at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. This study shows that one of the causes of such tanning behavior may be the watching of reality television, while it fosters a tanned appearance as appealing.
Objectification theory can explain the association between watching reality television and ultraviolent exposure among 18 to 22 year-old white women. By using a structural equation model to apply the framework of objection theory, reality television is shown to be positively related to the internalization of sun tan ideals and self-objectification. Which reveals, the hypothesis to be accurate that the internalization of sun tan ideals and self-objection are related to unhealthy ultraviolent exposure. Furthermore, these findings align with previous research that watching reality television is positively related to self-objectification.
Objectification findings show that women who self-objectify are more concerned with their appearance, which seems to add to their inclination to improve how attractive they appear to others. The current study adds to previous research on reality television as a basis teaching young women about the current appearance ideals. The relevance pertaining to my readers includes that reality television is in ways negatively affecting our youth by entertaining the idea of self-objectification. It is important our youth has a wholesome understanding of body image encouraged by beneficial health-related behaviors. This study shows us the influence communication within reality televisions has on the youth. Showing us that communication observed from media content is interpreted in self-objectifying ways.
Trekels, J., Eggermont, S., Koppen, E., & Vandenbosch, L. (2018). Beauty ideals from reality television and young women’s tanning behavior: An internalization and self-objectification perspective. Communication Quarterly, 66(3), 325–343. https://doi-org.proxy.mul.missouri.edu/10.1080/01463373.2017.1381627
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