Media and body image
Different media outlets can portray unrealistic expectations on what the human body is supposed to look like, and a study shows that 90 percent of women and 82 percent of men are unhappy with their physical appearance and wish their bodies were different.
As part of Rock Your Body week, the Counseling and Psychological Services hosted the Media Smart event to show students how movies, magazines and television could characterize an image as subjective as beauty.
CAPS outreach coordinator Kay Brumbaugh wants students to understand the information given by the media and teach them how to make informed decisions about a product.
“It is wonderful when students see Photoshopped images compared to the original and realize that they need to start questioning why they compare themselves with images from the media,” Brumbaugh said.
Kids can be influenced to change their appearance and may cause self-esteem issues — as is the case with young girls and boys who feel the need to lose weight in order to fit into a trend or crowd.
Art studio senior Gaby Markesino said growing up for her was difficult, especially with the media showing what women should look like.
“I know the influence it had on me when I was little,” Markesino said. “I’m a photographer, and I do a lot of work related to the media. It’s awful seeing what the media does.”
Although many researchers think women are the main targets, men can also feel uncomfortable of their image. Magazines and retail stores have pictures of men with six packs and a fine bone structure.
Although some media can have negative effects, some can be a looked at in a positive view, said advertising senior Randy Cantu.
“Be careful and understand the message they are sending out,” Cantu said. “Whoever sees it will be the one to determine on how to handle the message.”
Media has evolved throughout the years. Companies use the media to sell beauty products, sponsor celebrity clothing lines or television shows and all have ratings that would help the business grow. Brumbaugh says students should educate themselves with positive body magazines and websites to stay media smart.
“If someone is faced with a media image and notice they start to compare themselves, it can be helpful to step back and question if this image real or created by a computer,” Brumbaugh said.