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Body Image in Mass Media

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, body image can be described as how one sees him/her/themself when they look in the mirror or think about themself. Some people think this just applies to weight, but really it can apply to height and shape as well. Body image affects all of us one way or another. It is important to understand how our never ended exposure to mass media contributes to this.

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In a recent article in the Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, a quantitative study was conducted on Western Media and Body Image Dissatisfaction in Young Women in Developing Nations. The idea was to see if our Western model of 'beauty' seeped into the minds of what beauty is with women in other countries. It turns out that it does. Measurements such as BMI were taken into account as well in conjunction with perceived body imate in this review.


Another article in the Body Image journal discussed A qualitative study of young Australians’ opinions on body image, the mass media and models. In this qualitative study focus groups were conducted on 76 people to see their perception to body diversity in models and advertisements. It was concluded that there is consumer support for a broader range of body types in the media and advertisements.

Between the two studies, it seems as if the second one's method was clearer on how they gained these insights through their method of focus groups. It was very straight and to the point. I am also biased because I am more drawn towards qualitative studies, especially when it comes to human behavior and thought processes.


The conclusions from both of these studies are critical for multiple reasons. First, it shows the effect that Western media has globally on people's body image. This is not something that just lives in the United States. Second, the fact that consumers want to see body diversity in models is huge. This has already started in the fitness clothing industry, showing all shapes in sizes in athleisurewear.

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