The Mainstream Media And it’s Influence on Personal Image.

Media; a social power tool in the influence of the local people. Whoever it may be streamed to; the average schoolboy, a budding and upcoming entrepreneur or just the typical everyday citizen, the media does have a grip on our day-to-day functionality.This can, as expected, lead to negativity and dysfunctional views. This leads me to my question – “Does media truly have such a negative impact on self-image, particularly in younger audiences”

I know it does, based on my own personal encounters, those of others, and the public frenzy created as a direct cause of such a question. We need to change this, not just in a ‘single debate then forget about it until the next death’ way, but in a way that will prevent such incidents ever occurring; creating a better, safer, fairer competitive industry minus the negative factors.
A study done by Fister and Smith (2004) on the effect of media images to women and its relationship to eating disorders and subsequent thinness. “Fister and Smith found that the association between initial risk for disordered eating and subsequent thinness expectancy endorsement was much smaller in an average-size model image-viewing group than in a controlled or thin model image-viewing group.” This showed that girls who were exposed to thin model images were more affected than those exposed to the average size of women.
In fact, there have been numerous studies on such a topic, all yielding similar or same results. This leads me to ask, why allow such an ‘epidemic’ to go unnoticed and untouched? Is there a threshold of statistics to reach before government action really takes place, only after x amount of lives have been ruined? The answer is very simple; there should not be. How could any normal, functioning human being postpone a generations safety only in order to boost sales? It is lucrative and an idea based upon a deep lack of morality.
I put my hands up and admit that it isn’t such a problem in some places, I.e some companies have combated the issue on their own accord (notably Debenhams, among others) via the employment of visual changes like larger mannequins, change in approaches to advertising and stocking of a larger variety of plus sized clothing. This being said, it is still such a large issue facing many people in today’s world, a world that would feel alien without all the ‘white noise comforts’ such as adverts, models on magazines and news announcements.
I guess my ultimate aim here isn’t to preach hate towards the way things are run today, it is just to spark an argument; to make someone, somewhere feel the same way I do. Upon bearing witness to media today, people shouldn’t feel disgust and envy, they should feel comfortable enough to accept it as a suitable and modern means of communicating information.
Things should change and things need to change. There should be NO statistic as to “how many teenage girls develop eating disorders due to an advert” or “teens engaging in sexual activity due to a role in an advert”. The only statistic should be that of an increase in sales.
-Benjamin John Wareing


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