Been busy lately with my English Composition course and other important tasks that I have been neglecting my WordPress blog for a while. Now that I have something worthwhile to post, here it is my Final Draft research essay that I have been doing for my English Composition course that I am taking towards my Creative Writing degree. I wanted to do my research essay on an important and meaningful topic, so I chose the media and peer-pressure and how it has influenced young women’s perceptions on the ideal body image. This is something that has been affecting girls and young women for years and still is something that can affect anyone. Nowadays girls turn to fashion magazines and celebrities thinking that they are thin and perfect, when in reality they are not.
So you are welcome to read my essay and give me any helpful and constructive comments on what else I can do to make it better, or you can also help me revise it, see if there are any mistakes, your help will be greatly appreciated. Thank You:)
Final Draft Research Essay
“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful than a woman being apologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me that is the true essence of beauty.”(Dr. Steve Maraboli). Is there too much pressure on girls to have the perfect body? For many years young women have been the seekers of role models to look up to not just in character and behavior but also mainly in the way they look. There is too much pressure on young women to have the perfect body because photoshopping distorts a young woman’s mind and changes the way they see ideal body image as. Extreme media and peer-pressure cannot only lead to anorexia and bulimia nervosa, but also EDNOS. Comparing themselves to others constantly can harm their mental health by developing Dysmorphic disorder.
Photoshopped images with women models has been affecting the minds of many young woman and teen girls (Kite, 2014). Whenever they see an image of a beautiful and thin model, they start to think that model’s body image is real and to them it seems like there are really people in this world who look impossibly perfect. Constantly looking at pictures of perfect women can lead young women to think that perfect body image is the only way to success. In the case of photoshopping, a professional photographer changes or alters the model’s body image in the picture to make it look, not normal, but totally unreal. Nowadays professional photographers like to make celebrities and models look like they have no flaws when in reality they do, almost to the point were it is unspeakably perfect. Young women rely on fashion magazines as their number one source to read and view when they need fashion inspiration, however, there is also a large group of woman and teen girls who view these false images of public figures as the people who attain success just by being thin, in consequences feelings of insecurity and anxious thoughts about wanting the perfect body that those people have can make it dangerous for them to achieve (Van Vonderen, 2012).
“Some celebrities, such as Brad Pitt in an issue of W Magazine showed all of his flaws and wrinkles. Kate Winslet on the other hand took action against GQ Magazine for altering her body in photographs that made her look unrealistically thin” (Kite, 2014).
Celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Kate Winslet are famously known for being good-looking, well-known actors in the entertainment industry, but now since photoshopping has become so popular, that now it is taken into a whole level of negative harm in many women around the world.
“Eighty percent of woman say that the images of woman on television and in movies, fashion magazines, and advertising makes them feel insecure” (HRF, 2013).
As a result each year more and more women are prone to accept thinness as the ideal body image. Exposure to media can teach young woman how to achieve the perfect body by dieting, exercising, and having plastic surgery, this in turn lets woman know that they can achieve thinness, and that they should be thin. “However an idolization with body thinness moreover means that you are unsatisfied with your body” (Yamamiya, 2004). Based on the Groesz, Levine, and Murnen’s 2002 meta-analysis, explains that women feel more dissatisfied after seeing thin and beautiful media images versus average-size, oversize, and nobody images. There are two levels of media exposure: the first is the level of internalization of the media-promoted thin ideal and the second level is the social comparison processes (Yamamiya, 2004). High internalized woman may use pictures of perfect woman to compare themselves with them. The study conducted by the author, Yamamiya, consisted of hundred and twenty-three white female students from Old Dominion University, who were between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine years old. The volunteer participants in the study were given an experimental stimuli which consisted of twenty pictures of white female models from various Woman’s magazines. The picture slides were moved by a Kodak Carousel projector, and each person had fifteen seconds to view the picture slides followed by blank slides that were also viewed for fifteen seconds. As a result of this study conducted it has come to the conclusion that media exposure has more to do with how much woman have access to media in magazines showing thin models. Media is effective in creating body dissatisfaction in young woman. “Thinnspiration images are images that focus on the beauty of being skinny and eating less” (Kendyl, 2013). Kendyl states this new type of inspiration, where other young woman post images of skinny girls along with quotes such as: “I want to be the skinny friend.” or “Be skinny and eat less.” such images are posted on Instagram and Facebook each year and month, always on the reach of every woman in this world.
Extreme media and peer pressure can not only lead to Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa, but also a new type of eating disorder known as EDNOS, or otherwise best known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. In a personal essay that I discovered online called, Why Don’t I Look like Her? The Impact of Social Media on Female Body Image, Kendyl, the author of the essay, states her own personal reasons why she decided not to read fashion magazines since 2011, because they always put announcements on the front of the magazines that say things like for example: “Flatten your Abs Fast! Or “7 Yummy Fat Melting Foods” (Kendyl, 2013). All of those magazines would only make her think negative thoughts about her own body image. Kendyl goes on to explain that EDNOS is a disorder where you are not starving yourself but neither binging nor purging. It is trying to find extreme ways to maintain your low body weight.
EDNOS is mostly about having positive and negative thoughts about your body. For example, a woman may think that she is thin and beautiful but yet will often think that she needs to be on extreme diets to keep her weight lower and not gain weight; it is a disorder that is on the borderline of Anorexia and Bulimia. This disorder has been shown in some studies to have the highest death rates of any other eating disorder. “Fifty-two percent of eating disorder sufferers may have had EDNOS. Most patients do not show pure forms of eating disorders, and they may cross over from one disorder to another over time” (ANAD, 2014). This explains how fifty-two percent of the people who were diagnosed had EDNOS first. They showed the early symptoms, which were worrying about their body weight but still had normal menstrual cycles and a normal body mass index. EDNOS has become one of the most researched, because it is a disorder that can lead to any of the other harmful eating disorders, forty to sixty percent of the people find treatment at an eating disorder clinic (Thomas, 2010). This disorder has also been widespread in terms of spreading awareness to others who might have an eating disorder, or who are already suffering from EDNOS or any other eating disorder. “ninety percent of eating disorder patients in a psychiatry practice and seventy-five percent of young women with eating disorders in a community study were diagnosed with EDNOS” (Thomas, 2010). However, EDNOS is mostly common in people who receive less research attention, for example: males, ethnic minority groups, aesthetically-oriented athletes, young children, and the elderly. Diagnosing and researching eating disorders has always been focused on woman, and less on men. Which is not right because everyone can get eating disorders and anyone can be harmed by these deadly disorders if they do not seek immediate help. Health clinics and other health organizations should try to reach out to the ethnic minority groups that do not afford affordable health care so that each person receives the health care that they need; neglecting health is something we are notorious for ignoring and thinking that we are totally fine when we really are not. It is important to teach everyone, not just woman, about eating disorders.
Peer pressure and low self-esteem can lead someone to develop Body Dysmorphic Disorder. BDD, is also known by it’s medical name as dysmorphophobia. Body dysmorphic disorder is a severe psychiatric disorder that can occur to anyone around the world. “However the diagnosis is always missed in health clinics” (Phillips, 2004). BDD is a mental and psychological disorder so it makes sense that health clinic doctors would not be able to pinpoint right away when a patient has BDD. This condition involves having distressing thoughts that continuously intrude into a person’s awareness. It is more about perceiving appearance flaws. A person may worry about their hair being too puffy and wiry , making the person think constantly about how ugly and puffy their hair looks in an exaggerated tone of voice; that person will do anything too hide their ugly hair like wearing a hat all the time. Another person with BDD can have extreme negative thoughts about some part of their body being too ugly and horrible to look at. They can think that their face is too scarred, their eyes are not the same size, or their nose is too big; their lips are too thin or too thick. “Common behaviors include mirror checking, comparing with others, excessive grooming, camouflaging, frequent clothes changing, reassurance seeking from other peers, skin picking, and eating a restrictive diet” (Phillips, 2004). These behaviors typically occur for many hours a day and are more often difficult to control or resist. This disorder is mostly “imagined ugliness,” as explained in Katharine A. Phillips article, Body Dysmorphic Disorder: recognizing and treating imagined ugliness. The author mentions about an Italian psychiatrist named Enrico Morselli who a hundred years ago first described what BDD means: “The dysmorphophobic, indeed is veritably unhappy individual, who in the midst of his daily affairs, is suddenly overcome by the fear of some deformity which can reach a very painful intensity, even to the point of weeping and desperation” (Phillips, 2004). Compulsion and avoidance are two behaviors of BDD, in which compulsion has to do with the person finding ways to relieve the tension caused by obsessive thoughts. While on the other hand avoidance is when a patient tries to avoid the reality of their body image, and only see the imaginary flaw.
Negative self-esteem can truly destroy a young woman’s body image. There are two sides, people who have favorites and then there are the other group of people who can accept anyone by their natural body image. It is easy for anyone to get fooled and trapped in the false beauty that the media presents in the models and celebrities. It is up to us to choose whether we let obsession of the perfect body image control us, or seek the help that we need to find positive ways to accept our body and to control what we truly believe is right and real.
Health Research Funding, Teenage Girls Body Image Statistics. December 6, 2013.
Retrieved from: http://www.healthresearchfunding.org/teenage-girls-body-image-statistics/.
Kite Lexie, Ph.D. and Lindsay Kite, Ph.D. Photoshopping: Altering images and our Minds. Beauty Redefined. March 12, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.beautyredefined/photoshopping-altering-images/.
Klein, M. Kendyl. Why Don’t I Look like Her? The Impact of Social Media on Female Body Image. Claremont Mckenna College. CMC Senior Thesis. 2013. Retrieved from: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1749&context=cmc_theses
Thomas J. Jennifer, Ph.D., Vartanian R. Lenny Ph.D., and Brownell D. Kelly Ph.D. The Relationship between Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) and Officially recognized Eating Disorders: Meta-Analysis and Implications for DSM. Psychological Bulletin. May 2009. (Pg. 1-2). Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2847852/
Phillips A. Katharine. Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Recognizing and Treating Imagined Ugliness. The World Psychiatry Association. February 2004. (Pg. 1-2). Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1414653/
Van Vonderen E. Kristen, M.S. University of Central Florida, Kinnally William Ph.D.,