Media Pressure

The media is everywhere and it's great! Most of us love a bit of TV, radio and Facebook, but is it all good? We might enjoy watching the pretty people on the telly and in the magazines, but what does it do to us?

Psychoanalyst Dr Susie Orbach discovered that spending just three minutes looking at fashion magazines lowers the self-esteem of 80% of women. It is probably the same for guys who spend ages looking at magazines showing ‘fit’ male bodies. When a person is bombarded with images of ‘perfect’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘toned’  people on the TV, in magazines, or on billboards, it is too easy to feel ugly, fat, and less than perfect.

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A study by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund and Seventeen Fund discovered that 93% of girls and young women experience stress and anxiety about their looks when getting ready in the morning, and 58% of girls and young women use negative words like ‘ugly’ and ‘fat’ to describe themselves when they feel badly about themselves. Teen boys have the added difficulty of having to be seen to be strong and at the same time emotionally expressive. (Pollack 1998)

A negative mindset about one's self or body often leads to destructive behaviour: nearly four out of every ten girls engage in unhealthy eating habits and more than one out of every ten girls has coped with their feelings of inadequacies through cutting or other self-inflicted injuries. It is very easy to see these things as a only affecting girls. There may be more girls affected in this way, but eating disorders and self harm also affect a number of boys.

What many people don't realise is that the pictures of celebrities and models that they see every day are airbrushed and manipulated so that these people look more ‘beautiful’ than they actually are. The following video shows how much digital manipulation is required even for a supermodel to meet the media's standard of beauty. Models and footballers don’t really look that good, many people are paid lots of money to make them or their pictures look that good.

Intelligent analysis shows that these images and the messages given out by the media are often based on lies, usually for financial gain. We don't have to be victims of this pressure. We can choose to reject these media stereotypes and be proud of who we are!