There is an objectification of women trend that is...
Media Portrayals of Women
There is an objectification of women trend that is developing within the
entertainment media over the last few years. Specifically, there is a strong
attention on women where they are perceived as sexual objects in movies, TV,
and music videos instead of being seen as women. This is harmful to the social
fabric because the media is generating social stereotypes for men and women
that can lead to unhealthy social as well as physical habits (Cole & Jessica
54). This issue is particularly prevalent since the more the media utilizes
sexual content relating to women as many viewers appear to buy into them.
Therefore, the media shapes the sense of dating, sex, romance, as well as what
is ‘ideal’ in the society. The objectification of women within the media is
allowed to continue due to the fact that sex sell, and it is what a large
proportion of people in the society has proven they want to view in the
entertainment media. This paper will look into how the portrayal of women by
the media leads to unhealthy eating habits and poor self-esteem among the young
Low self-esteem, depression, as well as eating disorders are among the
leading health concerns that are facing girls in this contemporary society.
These problems are related to sexualized portrayal of women in the media. Media
messages have a tremendous influence on the ideals of the society, especially
when it comes to women. Although women are under-represented in the media,
whenever they appear, the attention is often on the looks they possess.
Reichert & Jacqueline (24) asserts that less speaking roles in children
films are offered to females and most of the female characters are
characterized by physical beauty instead of their intelligence or personality. Carilli & Campbell
successful, not only because of its audiences’ largely dismissive attitudes
toward the industry’s effectiveness, but also because it relies upon cultural
stereotypes that its audiences associate with lived reality as they encounter
and enact them in their day-today lives” (3).
The sexualization of women, which is the illustration of women as valued
by sex appeal is everywhere in the contemporary. In some instances, these
images are altered electronically so as to enhance the attractiveness. Whereas
young girls ought to be learning as well as having fun, 54 percent of them are
often concerned about their looks, whereas 37 percent of them are anxious about
their weight. Studies relating to teenage girls show that constant thinking of
body image influences the mindset as well as academic performance of
girls. It as well makes them to develop
eating habits that are unhealthy.
The way in which the media culture portrays women makes them to develop
anxiety that eventually makes some of them to develop low self-esteems. The
media appreciates the thin image of women and devalues any woman straying
outside this false “norm” of having a thin body. In order to deal with this low
self-esteem, many women literally starve themselves while pursuing the unachievable
goal. The media’s objectification of women affects the society in different
ways. Advertising as well as media images that encourage women to place
emphasis on looks and sexuality are detrimental to both their emotional and
physical health. According to Cole & Jessica, “women develop the sense of
seeing their bodies as not their individual self, instead as sexual objects
(34).” This unhealthy chain of thoughts can develop into cyclical problems like
eating disorders, depression, as well as low self-esteem. These problems are
openly related to sexualized images in the advertising and media entertainment.
Beauty sells, which makes it an issue when the media produces images for
women that are unattainable. Eating disorders are frequently, though not directly,
linked to negative body image. Whereas a negative body image might incite women
to diet so as to lose weight, it is not essentially the negative body image
that is the cause of an eating disorder; the person who is suffering has to be
biologically inclined to developing one (Frith & Kavita 33). There are
numerous factors that contribute to poor body images of women. We live in a
society where thinness and beauty are exceedingly valued for women. It is
common to see images of ridiculously thin women in the media- popular
magazines, TV shows and movies. The media glamorizes thin bodies for women.
This is the message that the media sends to teenagers during a time when they
are very vulnerable to peer pressure and good looks. As a result of this influence,
it is possible for poor body images might start developing at a very tender
age. It is unethical for marketing firms to constantly place ideals that are
unrealistic in the face of young women.
The media’s objectification of women makes them to develop mental and
physical depression. When the media exposes young women to images of thin and
attractive models, it increases body dissatisfaction of many women along with
bringing out negative feelings. Continuous exposure to these images brings
about numerous negative connotations in women’s self-image. Research shows that
mental depression starts at a young age, as children learn from what they see
in the media and it follows them into their teenage. According to Reichert
“If a child grows up seeing thin women used in advertisements, they take
this as a reality and make an effort to imitate both their appearance and
When they find out that this appearance is unattainable, they get down on
themselves and start feeling inadequate. Depression in many girls arises from
the exposure to the ultra-thin air brushed photographs in advertisements.
However, they ought to be informed that many measures have been taken to alter
these images in advertisements so as to elucidate that humans do not naturally
appear like the illustrations in magazine covers, TV’s or billboards.
Marketers will do anything they can so as to sell a product as well as
make a profit, and nearly anything can be sold provide it is appealing to our
sense of beauty. There are definitely some direct messages related with women’s
body size and weight in the media; fashion models, celebrities, as well as show
hosts are frequently perceived by role models, particularly by teenagers. This
is because they seem to demonstrate what it means to be both successful and
popular. The body weight and size, beauty and appearance of these celebrities
are related with their wealth and popularity. According to Jhally & Jean
(14), this concept is referred to as the “thin ideal media”, which has attracted
a lot of interests by social psychology researchers. The phrase “thin-ideal
media” emanate from media images, films, as well as shows containing very thin
female leads. The thin-ideal media is something that comes up often in fashion
magazines, pop culture TV shows and clothing catalogs. This concept highlights
the notion that thinness is a desirable thing, even when it is potentially
damaging to the health of an individual.
The statistics are stunning: according to research by Lont (45), four out
of every five 10-year-old children say that they are afraid of being fat.
However, where did these children learn about overweight, hence making them to
worry a lot about dieting as well as being thin? The number of young people who
wish that they were thinner is increasing with the increase in media’s
sexualization of women.
“By the time many children are in high school, one out of ten develop
eating disorders, which is an abnormal eating pattern where an individual
consumes too little or too much which devastatingly affects their physical as
well as emotional health” (Frith & Kavita 23).
Cole & Jessica asserts that approximately 90 percent of people with
eating disorders are women who are between 12 and 25 years. Young girls are
taught by the media that they need to diet so as to look like the celebrities
that they admire in the media. When these weight-conscious girls grow up, they
turn into eating-disordered women who have unhealthy body images. These women
have the obsession of maintaining a weight that is low enough to become
The media utilizes the sexuality of women as a selling pitch for the
audience that they intend to reach. In most advertisements, women are perceived
for their bodies and faces rather than the significance of advertisements in
which they are featured that will portray their personality. “Promoters of
products utilize the sexual attribute by attempting to relate their brand with
the subconscious mind of the consumers” (Frith & Kavita 21). As a result,
the media is not selling the messages in their advertisements but they are
merely selling sex, and through this, they make women to be perceived as
objects of desire as well as sex. The advertisements in the media become the
clothes that women put on and the body image that they struggle to emulate. The
actual concern is that this image is neither healthy nor real. Suggestive
sexual images in the media keep on feeding into these ideals that keep developing
in our social fabric.
In conclusion, the trend of objectifying women by the media seems to
continue as it is both entertaining and profitable. Nevertheless, this media
culture is detrimental to the society for mental as well as physical reasons.
Young men and women are stuck attempting to having a perfect body as the media
presents an ideal body at the expense of their mental state and physical
wellness. As a result, these young men and women are faced with eating
disorders and depression by trying to fit in the image of beauty that is
portrayed by the media. It is not helpful for one to feel inadequate because of
the manner in which the media is representing women as this will only lower
one’s self-esteem. It is apparent that the objectification of women by the
media has its negative effects.