What Is the Extent of the Media's Influence Regarding Eating Disorders?

3804 words 16 pages
The research question of this Psychology Extended Essay is “What is the Extent of the Media’s Influence Regarding Eating Disorders?” To further investigate this question, I researched what the media is and what it does, how people are affected by the media and many different studies and experiments. Through the use of several sources, mostly online and experiments, I was able to learn exactly what the media does to possibly be considered an influence on the development of eating disorders. I was able to find a multitude of experiments and studies deciding whether or not women are actually influenced by what the media has to say about body image. While typing this paper, I realized that, of course, the media was not the only
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Barbie dolls are mainly advertised on television which can be considered as the media. Young girls around 11 or 12 begin to realize what the ideal image is for a woman. It is believed that “Barbie encourages girls to be materialistic and image obsessed” (Bee). Not all young girls become this way, but some do and that is when eating disorders may develop and become a problem.
The average ages where eating disorders began to develop are between 11-24 and girls whom are between 11 and 18 are highly exposed to the media, including fashion or beauty related magazines and reality television shows. During this time, “the exposure to ideal images coincides with a period in their life where self-regard and self-efficacy is in decline” (Jade). Between these ages is when girls hit puberty which makes their body image fragile because they begin to compare themselves to society. A girl starts to diet because of the messages from the media and sometimes leads to eating disorders.
It is said to be that “eighty-three percent of adolescent girls read fashion magazines for an average of 4.3 hours per week” (Spettigue and Henderson). In magazines today and before there is a multitude of ads for new dieting products, diet foods and other things in that category; all of which causes an increase of wanting to be thinner like all the beautiful women in that specific magazine or the actresses on the television show they