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MDSB61H3 Chapter Notes -Mass Media, Longitudinal Study, Media Literacy

Media Studies
Course Code
Gray Graffam

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Issue 4: do media cause individuals to develop ve body images?
YES: Shari L. Dworkin and Faye Linda Wachs | what kinds of subjects and objects? Gender, consumer culture and
o Ad in health magazines tell ppl which products are useful in getting fit
o Fat then becomes something to be feared
o Men are given the status of subjects & women are objects
o “subjective-aspects-within-being-as-object” – women experience identity, subjecthood and pleasure in the process of
bodily objectification
o women having sth done to them by media images, texts and larger cultural norms
o women and girls come to see themselves as if someone was looking at them as an object
converging bodies: gender and consumer culture
o idealized physical forms are reinforced
o ads usually feature slim models creating the impression that the idealbody is necessarily fat-free
o workouts are highlighted in a fat-free form focused on toning and reducing fat
o women smiles = vulnerability; men smiles = powerful and privileged
o men and women encouraged to use hair, skin, hygiene and grooming products
NO: Michael P. Levine and Sarah K. Murnen | “everybody knows that mass media are/are not a cause of eating
disorders”: a critical review of evidence for a causal link between media, -ve body image and disordered eating in
o Assumption that media cause eating disorders is too limited, instead there are other cultural, social and psychological
issues playing a larger role in causing girls to harm themselves to lose weight
o Media portrays that being sexually attractive is of importance, sources of ideals abt attractiveness are located outside
the self
Mass media and the thinness schema
o Women are naturally invested in their beauty assets and thus beauty is a woman’s principal project in life
o A slender image is pleasing to males and demonstrates to females that one is in control of one’s life
o Learning to perceive, monitor and indeed experience yourself as the object of an essentially masculine gaze is an imp
part of being feminine and beautiful
Transnational idol: the exaltation of thinness and the vilification of fat
o Fat is “horrible and ugly” and getting fatter is a sin
o +ve correlation btwn media and disordered eating does not have sufficient causal agency
Longitudinal correlates of exposure to mass media
o time spent reading appearance-oriented magazines but not other magazines drive for thinness
o positive linear association btwn frequency of reading women’s fashion mags and intensity of weight concerns
o frequent dieting several efforts taken to look like same-sex figures in media
o mass media have a ve influence on girls with their body image
o positive assimilation effects: an increase in body satisfaction
o “upward social comparison” causes one to feel –ve abt their body
Media literacy: laboratory investigations
o media literacy: set of knowledge and skills that enable ppl to work tgt to understand and appreciate the nature of mass
media and one’s relationship with them
o ML programs tend to reduce disordered eating (internalization of the slender beauty ideal)
o ML programs get participants involved in working with their sch and larger communities to promote consumer activism
and new, healthier media
Presumed influences on others
o The greater the perceived prevalence of the thin ideal in mags leads to a desire for us to be thin
What we need to know but don’t know yet
o A need to do a longitudinal study to predict the validity of media exposure and the ve impact on body image by young
girls and women
o Prevention research
o More hrs of watching tv on health increases the level of disordered eating
Common ground btwn the two arguments: both men and women are portrayed in mags; causal links btwn media images and
eating disorders
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