Monday, May 5, 2014

Media Has a Huge Impact on Body Image: Multigenre Research Excerpt

*Today's post is part of Jocelyn Clark's senior project. Jocelyn is one of my students at Highland High School in Pocatello, Idaho and chose the multigenre research option. What follows is an abbreviate portion of her final project with the Prezi she created for our senior project presentation night. Jocelyn will be attending BYU-Idaho after graduation and plans to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints after her nineteenth birthday. 

Senior Project Presentation Night.
From Left: Makayla, Jocelyn, Amber, Dallin, Bradley, Austin
The media that we are surrounded by daily has affected the way that society as a whole has portrayed women. As time has gone on, media has directed how every woman is suppose to look and dress in order to even be considered as beautiful. It has made it so women are not looked at by men as virtuous or lovely, but as sexual objects instead used for their pleasure and then tossed away. That is so WRONG! 

The media needs to promote respecting oneself and one's body, looking on the mindset of being a sexual object with the least degree of allowance, and help women become comfortable in their own skin. It may be wrong to say, but it wouldn't be completely wrong to say that media has a direct correlation with negative self image, depression, self harm, and eating disorders. In fact, my cousin suffered from the constant push from the media to be thin. She is lucky to still be alive today after her long road down a terrifying path of being a bulimic.

Cara is the individual who inspired me to use this topic for my senior project. About a year ago, she started her recovery from a vicious fight with bulimia. Cara was never a small girl; in fact, she was always heavier growing up. It was never easy for Cara to be comfortable in her own skin, especially with the expectation society has set through the media of what every teenage and young adult girl should look like. She slowly made her way towards becoming a bulimic. She would eat almost a whole week’s worth of groceries just to later throw them up. 

Many times she would end up in the hospital. Her heart was in severe trouble, and if she kept doing what she was practicing, many complications and problems with death as the end result would occur. She was in her beginning driving age, yet she would not be able to drive because of the many seizures she caused herself to go through because of lack of nutrients to her body. Yes, she did become very thin, probably the thinnest she had ever been. Because of the media’s influence on what she should look like, she almost lost her life and continues to have minor issues with her health because of it. 

No girl should have to go through what Cara went through. Although, she is not the only one that has stepped foot into this enticing trap to look like the “perfect woman” on the magazine cover. I have never even thought about falling into this type of eating disorder, but I have talked myself into skipping a few meals, or dieting in order to fit in at least one size smaller. It’s sad that we as teenagers are so attacked by the media about what type of woman we ALL need to be. The media has done a FANTASTIC job at objectifying women. But I refuse to be considered just an object. 

After watching my cousin go through what she went through, and studying this topic, I know that I will always do my best to stay positive and love my body no matter what shape it turns out to be. Now, I know that this will not be easy. It will take conscious effort of only saying positive things when I look in the mirror. The media is always trying to sell products, and perfect (created through Photoshop) is what makes those products sell. Will it ever be banned? Probably not. But I hope we as women everywhere will learn to love our bodies despite the influence media has, after all your body is the only thing in this life that is truly yours. There are no replacements, and no do overs after the damage has been done.

Even celebrities are starting to take a stand against how the media portrays women and making comments about the importance of having confidence in and respecting your body. Below is a presentation of some of those who have stood up for what is really important when it comes to loving your body along with the song, "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars. All of you are beautiful, just the way you are.


  1. What a wonderful presentation and what an opportunity to give one of your students a chance to get her work out there to other educators such as myself. A great big thumbs up from across the pond. You should be really proud of your students and their obvious hard work. I wish Jocelyn every success in her future studies.

    1. Thank you! I'll certainly be sure she sees your comment.

  2. I struggled all of my young adulthood with weight issues. I probably tried all of those crazy fad diets, diet pills- you name it I probably tried it. Now that I am 50 I regret all of those years. If only I had listened all of those years when people said it would catch up with me one day. It did at 50. Great post!