Medias Influence on Young Women’s Body Image

College students are faced with stressful situations everyday. These stressful situations

are a variety of things from exams, assignments, loans, and trying to maintain a certain body

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image. Of course, no one wants to go off to college and be told that they have gained weight and

is now part of the freshmen fifteen club. But, the pressure to “look good” and like the girls on

television, magazines, and music videos are increasing each year. This has a lot to do with social

media and how it influences college students body image. Body image is how you see your self,

particularly to appearance and attractiveness. How you see yourself can have an effect on your

relationships, self-esteem, and how you see your peers. Body image is sometimes referred as a

disorder. It can cause dysfunctional relationships between two people because of body image


When studying how social media has a strong influence on college students body images

the researches focus a lot on social communication and intrapersonal communication. These

researches focus on what is seen around these students in school, on the internet, and on

television (Van Vondersen, K. E., &Kinnal, W., 2012). Also how body image relates to how we

communicate both verbally and nonverbally with other (All about Nonverbal Communication:

Body Image and Social Communication.). A study has been done by researchers that a person

who is suffering with body image issues will avoid social approach and interaction. I am a

college student who will admit that the women I see on social media does influence the way I see

myself. But, not like other college students I will not go to the extreme to look like these women

I admire. Social media influence college students body images would be a good topic because it

is a serious issue that is increasing each year and it has an effect on how we communicate with

others. To back up my topic I have looked at several different scholarly articles to help back up

my claim.

In order for me to prove to you why should you care I think its important for me to first

explain something about this topic. Body image issues is not something that has just happened

over night. Unfortunately, social media has had an influence on how people see their selves for

years. I do not know how this issue can be solved or if it will every be solved, but I do know that

is has something to do with communication. It is associated with communication because how

we see ourselves effects our attitude and how we treat or communicate with others.

Therefore, in order to care about this topic, you first have to be able to understand what is

going on. Many people don’t understand not only the amount of pressure college students are

under but how much the things they are exposed to influence their life. One of the first studies I

read on this topic was done by a group of researchers. In this study conducted by researchers it

examined not only body images of college students but also how these same college students are

receiving cosmetic surgery in order to try and boost their self-esteem. It was mentioned how the

girls get the idea of “beauty” from television, women health magazines, and advertising. The

current ideal woman is one that is consider thin, big breasted and toned. The number one

cosmetic surgery that is being performed on college students is breast implants. In the study it

was proven that out of the 559 women surveyed that thirty of them have received cosmetic

surgery, two thirds of them know someone who has received cosmetic surgery, and one third

they have family members that have undergone surgery (Sarwer, D. B., Cash, T. F., Magee, L.,

Williams, E. F., Thompson, J. K., Roehrig, M., . . . Romanofski, M.,2005). It was also proven in

this study that the reason why these women are investing in their physical appearance is because

of mass media images of beauty predictions (Sarwer, D. B., Cash, T. F., Magee, L., Williams, E.

F., Thompson, J. K., Roehrig, M., . . . Romanofski, M.,2005).

Another study that was conducted to support this topic how social media influence

college students was done by Kristen E. Van Vondersen and William Kinnally. In their study

they found that women who are heavy television viewers are the ones who develop the attitude

that thinness is socially desirable, experience greater body dissatisfaction, and engage in

cosmetic surgery in attempt to measure up to what they think the standards are they have

observed (Van Vondersen, K. E., &Kinnal, W.,2012). In their study they also found that these

same women are the people behaviors tend to change with their peers and family. Not only did

they find out that social media can affect these same women ideal of being thin is desirable, but

also, peers and family can help influence this too. One interesting fact that was brought up in this

study is how the women look at their body as a measuring stick of social value. They see from

the things around them that attractive and thin people are the happiest, so they think in order to behappy they must be like the people they see.

In another research conducted by Duane A. Hargreaves and Marika Tiggemann it

discussed how men have their own ideas and terminology regarding their body image. It was

founded out in their research study that men are considered their physical appearance to be more

important than they would like to admit. It was also brought up that they don’t mention their

physical appearance to others because it is feminine or a gay issue (Hargreaves, D. A., &

Tiggemann, M.,2004). But, in this study the researchers tried to compare how the mass media

influence the men vs how they influence the women. It was shown that a greater percent of

concern for their body came from the women.

But of course, we have to tie all of these finding back to communication. In each scholarlyarticle I read and study that was conducted by different researchers they included a list ofbehaviors that was observed by these women. It was mentioned that these people smile rarely orvery small, they do not show any confidence, over expose what they feel is their best asset, try toseek affirmation from others on their appearance, surround their selves with others who also

suffer with body issues, frequently looking into the mirrors and many more things. All of theses

behaviors have to do with communication rather it is nonverbal, verbal, or intrapersonal

communication. With that being said, that’s why I think this is a good communication topic to

study. Their body issues that are influenced by social media but also peers and family effect how

their communication process and behaviors.
















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