Research Report on The Role of Mass Media on Body Image, Body Image Dissatisfaction

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Table of Contents
1. Introduction 3
1.1. Research Statement: 3
2. Literature review 4
2.1. Relevant researches 4
3. Findings 6
3.1. Future Research projects 8
4. Conclusion 8
5. References 9

The Role of Mass Media on Body Image, Body Image Dissatisfaction: Gender Differences in Eating Attitudes, Self-Esteem, and Reasons for Exercise
With a great boost in the social media technology and advancement in the internet, the role of mass media in influencing the people across the globe has increased significantly. Any information can be circulated worldwide within few seconds. Mass media refers to the modes of communication that is utilized for communicating to a large crowd or public in the world. Body image is the perception that people have regarding attractiveness of themselves. The increasing influencing of mass media also has certain disadvantages along with many advantages. It has a great influence on the psychology of the people, especially the youth and this influence has negative outcomes. It has huge impact on the self – esteem of the people and it also affects the perception of the people for their own selves.
Owing to the westernization of the cultures across the world, there has been significant changes in the habits, life style, food habits of the people across the world. There is a great mutation in the eating habits and attitudes of the people regarding food. There are different perceptions regarding the food and Self- esteem as per the gender of the person. This outcomes has resulted in increase in the number of diseases and disorders among the people and specially the youth of the world. This has aroused my interest in the topic that identifying the cause of body image dissatisfaction and gender differences in the Eating habits of the people due to mass media.
Research Statement:
Establishing the role of mass media on body image dissatisfaction and gender differences in eating habits, self-esteem and perception
Literature review
Along with the boost of the mass media, there are many negative influences which have been identified by various researchers and scientists. Different forms of media were identified like the television, magazines, newspaper, radio and their impacts on the perception and psychology of the people have been established. This kind of influence has led to body image dissatisfaction where individuals start getting over conscious about their body and start considering the body and shape shown in the mass media to be ideal.
A major contribution of these influences through the mass media comes from television. There are programs, shows and movies that objectify various parts of the body and are displayed so glamorously that people start getting uncomfortable with their own body. People start developing complexes with their own structure and shape. As a result of this, they tend to go into depression, get hyper tension and invite many unwanted disorders and diseases due to this. This also leads to mood swings among the people which again is not desirable for the well-being of the society as it would promote insecurity, quarrels and heated arguments among the people.
Relevant researches
It has been mentioned by well-known researchers like Adrian Furnham, Nicola Badmin and Ian Sneade, department of Psychology, London, that the influence of the mass media is different for the two genders. They have further stated that the body consciousness and body complex that is developed through mass media have developed different eating habits and developed different attitudes among them regarding consumption of food. For the men, it has managed to develop more concern on the shape rather than weight. While, for the women, it has developed more concern on the weight and thinness of the waistline and due to this they carry dieting in improper proportions which spoils their health and reduces their immunity (Furnham, Badmin, & Sneade, 2002).
According to a well acclaimed nutritionist and dietician Dr. Ana R. Sepulveda and Maria Calado, the eating disorders have been developed due to the globalization of the cultures due to westernization and mass media (Sepulveda & Maria, 2012). The eating disorders have raised from the body image dissatisfaction among the youth and it has different characteristics and perception for the two genders.
The body image dissatisfaction among the women due to the mass media have developed the psychology of considering the thin body as shown in the television and other sources as ideal body shape and weight for the women (Shelly, Monique, Shibley, & Hyde, 2008). Eating attitudes and behaviour of the women are an outcome of the above mentioned urge of having the ideal thin body. There is a link between the body image dissatisfaction among the women and their eating behaviour. Due to the thin body shown and popularised on mass media, women tend to attain that shape and weight through rigorous dieting which often leads to lack of essential nutrients and vitamins as a result of which they become sick and prone to various infections (Shelly, Monique, Shibley, & Hyde, 2008).
There has been different researches on the effect of mass media on young boys and girls who were in their adolescent age. During the adolescent age, exposure to media which displays thin women or girls and tough and toned boy leaves an image in the minds of these young people. Also, depiction of images that would provide incomplete knowledge to the boys may result in injuring them or developing a major injury due to the excessive exercise without proper diet and plan. Food attitudes develop due to such ignorance which also result in low self-esteem and lack of motivation among them (Barker & Galambos, 2003).
The need of exercise arises from the striving need of the men and women or boys and girls to achieve the ideal figure and shape that they have seen in the mass media. There is some link or connection between the body image dissatisfaction and improper eating habits or attitudes and this link serves to be developed through the use of mass media and leaving influences on the minds of the people regarding the appropriateness of their body. This link has been studied and analysed by various researchers which we are going to observe further.
There are various experiments and survey carried out by different researchers to establish the relationship between the body image dissatisfaction developed through mass media and the differences among the genders regarding eating behaviour and habits. Experiments have been carried on adult men and women as well as adolescent boys and girls.
One of such experiment was carried out by Marika Tiggemann, where she undertook around 1450 students from secondary school. She had developed questionnaires designed especially for the adolescent kids that involved viewing of different programs on television that boys and girls of their age would prefer watching. She linked the disorders in the eating attitudes with the different type of content viewed on television. She found that young boys and girls were hugely impacted by the exposure, but it was not completely negative. Most of the boys and girls showed body image dissatisfaction which was however, not related to the total time for which they watched television, but to the type of content they saw on television (Tiggemann, Television and Adolescent Body Image: The Role of Program Content and Viewing Motivation, 2005).
Another such experiment was carried by Marika Tiggemann along with Duane Hargreaves where they undertook 196 women and 205 men and they established the relation between viewing of television commercials which involved both the categories appearance based and nonappearance based with the changing moods and behaviour of the participants. It was observed that when the participants were shown appearance based shows, there were much greater mood swings which included getting angry, insecure and dissatisfied body image (Tiggemann & Hargreaves, 2002).
Another such experiment was carried out by Adrian Furnham, Nicola Badmin and Ian Sneade, department of Psychology, London, where they took 235 boys and girls and established a relation between eating habits of the students and their self-esteem as well as conceptualization of ideal body for them. They found that female’s self-esteem was more affected through body dissatisfaction then the male’s self-esteem. There were relation between the reasons for exercising and body image dissatisfaction and the reasons were found as a result of low self-esteem and improper eating habits (Furnham, Badmin, & Sneade, 2002).
Considering such experiments, it can be stated that there is mass media has promoted a improper and baseless ideal structure that has led to body dissatisfaction among the people and adolescent boys and girls. The influence of mass media can be established by knowing the ideal size from the girls and boys which they think as perfect and would like to achieve such body. Most of the boys displayed interest for more muscular body and girls displayed interest in having thin and slim figure. In both the genders, discontent for own body was found though it was for different parameters and hence body image dissatisfaction was observed in both of them. Such sociocultural effects of the mass media on body image and behaviour among both the gender stereotypes are shown in the figure.

(Sepulveda & Maria, 2012)
Future Research projects
The effects of mass media on the behaviour and psychology of the young people has been observed and hence, it is very important to reverse it or reduce it by proper guidance and supervision. There has to be a regular check on the display of images through mass media and the ones that are based on appearance have to be removed or altered to decrease their impact. There are many projects which are established to find the appropriateness of the content that is being displayed and these practices are adopted strictly on a large scale and it also takes the assistance of censorship whenever required. It is found that in the future for providing correct information regarding the body and removing body image dissatisfaction can be widely achieved through positive media only (Thompson & Heinberg, 2002).
It can be concluded that mass media has to be utilized carefully and imposing of such psychology has to be prevented and reduced through coordinated efforts. The behaviour of those that have already been affected has to be improved through effective counselling.
The media that is responsible for such body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders is capable enough to rehabilitate people involving mostly the young people, regarding the positive and correct body image psychology that would motivate the people and develop high self-esteem among them.

Barker, E. T., & Galambos, N. L. (2003). Body Dissatisfaction of Adolescent Girls and Boys:Risk and Resource Factors. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 23(2), 141-165.
Furnham, A., Badmin, N., & Sneade, I. (2002). Body image dissatisfaction: gender differences in eating attitudes, self-esteem, and reasons for exercise. The Journal of Psychology,, 581–596.
Sepulveda, A. R., & Maria, C. (2012). Westernization: The Role of Mass Media on Body Image and Eating Disorders. Relevant topics in Eating Disorders.
Shelly, G., Monique, W. L., Shibley, J., & Hyde. (2008). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: A meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological Bulletin, 460-476.
Thompson, J. K., & Heinberg, L. J. (2002). The Media’s Influence on Body Image Disturbance and Eating Disorders: We’ve Reviled Them, Now Can We Rehabilitate Them? Journal of Social Issues, 55(2), 339–353.
Tiggemann, M. (2005). Television and Adolescent Body Image: The Role of Program Content and Viewing Motivation. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 24(3), 361-381.
Tiggemann, M., & Hargreaves, D. (2002). The Effect Of Television Commercials On Mood And Body Dissatisfaction: The Role Of Appearance-Schema Activation. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 21, 287-308.


Posted on

March 9, 2018

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