TV commercials, movies, advertisement and women’s magazines have in the recent past depicted unattainable body images as the ideal bodies. Several studies have shown that women’s self-esteem, confidence, and eating habits are negatively affected depending on the message and the images from social media of other advertising agencies. According to Fardouly, social endorsements on the ideal thin body by women has resulted in subsequent eating disorders and consequently unhealthy bodies. On the other hand, advertising on the social media sites such as Facebook has led to dissatisfaction with their body. In most times, women and teenagers exposed to appearance-related media are likely to suffer more adverse effects compared to women exposed to non-appearance related advertising. Therefore, identifying the link between the advertising and body image or health is essential in understanding for successful intervention. This paper will aim at identifying the effects of advertising or other social media on the body image and health.
Many women’s magazines focus on the physical body and the outside attributes such as muscles, bone structure, clothing, make-up, and hair and rarely tell on the importance of having other positive attributes. According to Fardouly, media representation of ideal thin body has contributed to dissatisfaction with the body image and dieting abnormalities. The dieting abnormalities are severe in that; the dissatisfaction leads to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia which in turn leads to death. In most cases, advertising and social media portray thin as an ideal body for women leaving overweight women under intense pressure including condemnation, discrimination and teasing about the weight.
Negative Effects of Advertising
Low Self Esteem and Confidence
Social media and other advertising agencies have continuously depicted thin as the ideal body. Besides, the advertising media depict women on the latest cloth fashion, make-up and the best hair. Incidentally, the use of technologically advanced tools such as Photoshop application has made it possible for social media to come up with women and teenagers having good body shapes. As a result, women without the described personal traits tend to suffer lowered self-esteem and confidence.
Advertising and social media affect the self-esteem in some ways. First, the constant advertising on the social media and other advertising agencies such as TV and movies provides a platform for comparison between what is on the adverts and what women and teenagers have in real life. In most cases, the adverts are inclined to perfectionism. Consequently, the observers are likely to suffer lowered self-esteem if they find out they do not have qualities to match the advert. Second, the advertising concentrates on the perfect life. Consequently, the depiction of thin bodies as the ideal body is perfectly orchestrated to attract wider viewing. Therefore, the more the women and teenagers view the adverts, the more they are likely to suffer from lowered self-esteem and little confidence.
Finally, the fact that, thin is the ideal body for most ads, most of the overweight women and teenagers are likely to suffer from low self-esteem as the society depict them as unhealthy and are unattractive. Consequently, the women may develop personal esteem issues due to the praise of thin women and the subsequent demonizing of overweight women. Conclusively, the advertisements depicting the light body as the ideal body is likely to affect the body image of the viewers in a negative way. Overweight women and teenagers lacking the portrayed traits are likely to develop low esteem as they may conceive as lacking the orchestrated characteristics in the adverts.
Advertising and other social media have been found to contribute to eating disorders. According to Fardouly, the depiction of the thin, idealized body is contributing to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. The teenage group is the most affected group by the adverse health issue in their endeavor to match the properties of idealized bodies in the magazines. The portrayal of the distorted body images often contributes to the perception that they are much bigger or fatter than they are, thereby cutting on the consumption of food. As a result, the women engage in some extreme measures such as reduced dieting and increased smoking to control their weight. According to Perloff, a significant portion of women is engaging in recurrent episodes of binge eating. For instance, teenagers and women are considering eating in discrete consumption periods in the endeavor to lose weight and control their diet. Precisely, teens are resorting to taking one meal per day thereby denying the body the necessary nourishment.
Also, the teens are considering compensatory behavior aimed at preventing weight gain derived from daily food intake. For example, more women are contemplating on self-induced vomiting with the primary goal of lowering their body weight. Some women and teens are misusing laxities while others are applying extreme measures such as lengthy fasting periods and excessive workouts just to remain thin. In most cases, the consequence of fasting, excessive exercises and self-induced vomiting leads to decreased quantity of blood sugars leading to adverse health impacts. In some cases, reduced food intake has contributed to deaths. Latest statistics indicate that eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are some of the leading causes of deaths in the United States. Conclusively, advertising has adverse effects on the body image and health in that; it is contributing to eating disorders as women and teenagers resort in decreased food consumption to match the idealized bodies on the advertisements and social media.
Condemnation and Discrimination
Advertising on social media and other outlets is increasingly leading to the negative perception and conviction of overweight women. Beauty is a core feature of femininity as depicted by the press. Thus, women who do not conform to the qualities of the idealized bodies such as thin body are subject to ridicule by other members. Therefore, it is a common practice for overweight women to experience intense pressure from their families and friends to reduce their weight. The condemnation of the obese women has taken a new level with media outlets using offensive advertisements to shame fat women. For instance, ads encouraging men to cheat on their wives who overweight have taken center stage in most TVs and movies. Consequently, the depiction of the thin body as the ideal body by the media is taking a toll on the obese women who develop a high level of stress as their bodies react negatively to weight loss measures.
Overweight women are facing condemnation and discrimination due to their weight issues. As a result, the women are being blocked from participation in fashion related exercises. Consequently, it is common practice nowadays for overweight women to face discrimination from participating in modeling and other trends show notwithstanding the rejection in public modes of transports. As a result of condemnation and discrimination, the overweight women and teenagers are developing negative feelings about their bodies resulting in unhappiness, shame, guilt, and high levels of stress. However, the most affected groups of women and adolescents are those that are genetically liable to grow overweight since no remedy can be utilized to deal with the issues of overweight. Conclusively, advertising on social media has set back obese women due to increased pressure, condemnation and discrimination of the women in the public spaces.
Positive Effects of Advertising
Overweight Related Disorders
Not all men, women, and teenagers have experienced negative effects of advertising on the body image and health. The depiction of the thin as the ideal body has seen more women appreciate their bodies and work to ensure their bodies remain healthy without compromising on their food intake. Due to the portrayal of the thin body as the ideal body, more women are participating in exercises aimed at reducing weight thereby minimizing their chances of getting overweight related disorders such as high blood pressure and diabetes. High blood pressure results from excessive intake of foods with high cholesterol levels thereby impeding the smooth flow of blood in the capillaries. According to Zhan & Haifeng, high blood pressure in women has significantly decreased in groups of men and women who have incorporated workouts in their daily routine. Therefore, the depiction of the thin as the ideal body is helping more obese women to adopt healthy eating practices and exercises to reduce the chance of getting weight-related disorders.
In addition, the depiction of thin, idealized bodies is contributing to better-eating habits with obese men and women adopting better-eating practices to reduce their weights. For example, fat people are avoiding foods with much sugars and fats to cut off their carbohydrate intake which results in accumulation of fats on their body which has the potential of increasing cholesterol levels. Also, advertising has had a positive impact on the body image and health of women and teenagers who are content with their bodies. According to Zhan & Haifeng, women and men who are appreciative of their bodies are in no way affected by the advertisement depicting thin women and muscular men. Conclusively, advertising has contributed to positive effects on the body image in that more overweight women are participating in workouts to reduce weight thereby minimizing the risks of getting weight-related disorders. In addition, the advertising has improved the self-confidence among women and girls who conceive as being thinner after media advertisements.
Media outlets such a TVs, movies, and advertisements have continually depicted thin bodies as the ideal body leading to adverse impacts on the women and teenage girls. From the discussion, it is apparent that advertising is contributing directly to low self-esteem and confidence to women and girls who do not match the criterion outlined by the ads thereby leading to conflicting emotional attitudes towards their bodies. Most of the girls do not comprehend the fact that most of the adverts are orchestrated to gain a maximum audience. Consequently, the teenagers endeavor to achieve non-existent body shapes, colors, hair and other unattainable characteristics. Furthermore, advertising is contributing to eating disorders with women skipping or fasting to avoiding adding weight. Consequently, the number of women suffering from food anorexia and bulimia is on the rise as women and teenagers seek to conform to the ideal bodies.
In addition, advertising has contributed to the condemnation of overweight women to the extent of discrimination from certain kinds of jobs such as modeling and fashion shows. It is common for women to develop negative feelings, unhappiness, guilt and high levels of stress due the negative perception of their bodies in public. Lastly, advertising has contributed to positive effects on women, men, and teenagers who are content with their bodies. As a result, more overweight women are participating in daily workouts to reduce their weight thereby minimizing the risks of getting weight-related disorders. Furthermore, obese people are adopting better feeding practices to live healthily. In brief, advertising has contributed to more adverse effects on the body image and health as men, women, and teenagers seek to conform to advertisement portraying thin bodies as the ideal bodies.