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Eleven million women in the United States suffer from eating disorders- either self-induced semi-starvation anorexia nervosa or a cycle of bingeing and purging with laxatives self-induced vomiting or excessive exercise bulimia nervosa Dunn 1992 Many eating disorder specialists agree that chronic dieting is a direct consequence of the social pressure on American females to achieve a nearly impossible thinness The media has been denounced for upholding and perhaps even creating the emaciated standard of beauty by which females are taught from childhood to judge the worth of their own bodies Stephens Hill 1994 To explore the broader context of this controversial issue this paper draws upon several aspects on how the media influences young womens body image This paper examines an exploration of the prevalence and the source of body dissatisfaction in American females and considers existing research that presents several important aspects regarding the nature of the connection between advertising and body dissatisfaction From these distinctions it will be shown that the media has a large impact on womens body image and that the cultural ideal of a thin body is detrimental to the American females body perception that often results in poor eating pathologies Body image can be defined as an individuals subjective concept of his or her physical appearance Body image involves both a perceptual and attitudinal element The self-perceptual component consists of what an individual sees or thinks in body size shape and appearance A disturbance in the perceptual element of body image is generally reflected in a distorted perception of body size shape and appearance The attitudinal component reflects how we feel about those attributes and how the feelings motivate certain behavior Shaw Waller 1995 Disturbances in the attitudinal element usually result in dissatisfaction with body appearance Monteath McCabe 1997 Perceptions about body images are shaped from a variety of experiences and begin to develop in early childhood It has been shown that children learn to
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