The Effect of the Media on Women's Personal Identity Page 1
Page 2     Page 3
Body Image
For many women, the media has a profound effect on how they view their bodies from a personal perspective. From the mass marketing of advertisements that depict thin women, to how behaviours of females should be, there is clearly a trademark being developed by the media on how women should look and feel. This is contributing to an extreme, as well as a versatile image on the characteristics of women today.

However, statistics show that the women that are portrayed in these ads and advertisements are not actually vindictive of women in today’s decade. Even though it’s true that there are positive influences as well as negative ones, the fact is, the media is playing a tremendous role in how any female perceives her own identity. Whether the media realizes it or not, they hold the power to build a woman up or to break her down, in this respect it can lead to a lot of negativity. Nevertheless, for a female who feels in control of herself, and is proud of her own body image, the media simply exemplifies these feelings for her. Even so, it needs to be kept in the forefront of the mind that for some women, these ideals set up by the media are destroying dozens of women’s natural ability to cope with how they feel about themselves.

Extensive Research on Women's Body Image
Fisher (1986) emphasizes the fact that body image undoubtedly plays a part in all of the behaviours that are visually interpreted to show how an individual feels about themselves. So when a female begins to portray a symptom of depression on her body image one has to pause and ask, “Why is there suddenly this problem?” Is the media wholly responsible for this type of crisis simply by presenting a bombardment of extremely thin and sexy women? The answer is dutifully, yes. If the media would focus on how women actually are instead of presenting false ideals then perhaps there would not be such an upset among the female gender. There might not be eating disorders, or poor self-esteem levels among women in the real world.
Females Susceptibility to Media Portrayal
Females are highly vulnerable to what the media projects, they want to feel good about themselves. When the media only shows examples of thin and beautiful women, then average women are, of course going to feel belittled and bad about themselves. Obviously, the media affects all facets of a females life. If a woman starts to become overtly depressed due to her feelings of failure of herself then it can have a vast impact in other areas of her life such as, sexual orientation, sexual awareness, comfort of ones own self, sexual arousal patterns, intimacy, delinquent behaviour, clothing choice, drug addiction, tolerance of stress, and how they interrelate with their environment (Fisher 1998, p.625).

A person wouldn’t think that issues such as these would go this far, yet they do, and often undetectable, until it is too late. It is a known fact that women arm themselves with their own defensive mechanisms to combat the material that is endlessly thrust in front of them by the media. This is especially true if it is information that subjects them to feelings about themselves that are extremely complex, confusing, or even threatening to who they really are (Fisher 1998). The main point of fact is, is that the media projects these ideas that are in actuality falsely representing women today. They not only place a negativity on adult women but young adolescents are affected by them as well. These unrealistic expectations create all sorts of probabilities for young girls that can lead to eating disorders, lowered self esteem, thoughts of suicide, dissatisfaction of their bodies, self mutilation, and many other psychological disorders (Holmstrom 2004).


Page 2     Page 3