Letters to the Editor

Media encourages unhealthy body image

Body image is the mental image that one perceives their body to be. According to a survey conducted by Harvard University, University of Virginia Medical School, and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, about 69 percent of girls in grades 5-12 said that the pictures they saw from magazines influenced what they considered to be their ideal body. This statistic raises questions on how much the media affects how children view themselves and their bodies. According to a research article in Neuroscience studying body image, women exposed to the media often develop the “thin ideal” where they compare their bodies to bodies of models after seeing their images over time.

There have been hundreds, thousands of ads and commercials publicized worldwide of models with thin waists, blemish-free skin, ample breasts, or toned bodies. The question raised over the past decade: Is that the ideal body society wants? The public rarely sees companies use models other than those that are 5 feet 11 inches tall and weigh 120 pounds. These standards show that the media doesn’t pick from a diverse pool of models when the average American woman is about 5 feet 4 inches tall and weigh around 140 pounds.

Without a diverse standard of models with different body types, the media encourages the idea that society sees women who meet the model standards as the face of beauty, and if you don’t meet the same standards, you need to change so you can look like the girls in Victoria’s Secret.

Brianna Honma, O’Fallon