Modern Day Pop-Culture's Effect On Flat-Lined Self-Esteem
Submitted by: lalapancakes⚫ 10 months ago
In my own experience I get more a favorable response from my peers when I talk about the influence of TV and popular magazines on self-esteem, rather than when I bring up the influence on social aggression. Regardless, no one is immune to social expectations, even when we try to rise above. I am not immune. Not in the least! I remember at 15 I was obsessed with fake breasts, press on nails, and Jennifer Aniston’s terrible 90’s haircut. So were my friends. And here it is many years after and I still feel uncontrollably inadequate when Carl’s Jr. ads assault my living room. But the jokes on them! I don’t eat from places that abuse my sense of self.
The psychology of advertisement is well understood in the 21st century. A lot better understood and a lot more manipulated than it ever has been at any other time. It is true people always fell to some sort of social expectation throughout history - the corset and bound tiny feet for example, but the studies are in showing the influence media has on society is more powerful than it ever has been before.
As with Bhutan succumbing to the influence of TV and shows about wrestling, gangs, and war - so too did Fiji with shows like “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Melrose Place,” and some terrible show called “The Swan” where women were separated from their friends and family and put through a “beauty makeover” for weeks in order to compete against one another in a meaningless pageant.
As with Fijian girls giving in to unfortunate televised standards of self-image, so have American men to media, “Although fewer men meet criteria for anorexia and bulimia than do women, more men are becoming concerned with shape and weight (21, 22). While some of the manifestations are similar to the disordered eating found in women there are some important differences as well. Men too are bombarded by media pressure. Pictures of thin, muscular, and perfectly coiffed “metrosexual” models appear in men’s magazines. Gay and straight men alike are shelling out significant sums of money for gym memberships, styling products, salon haircuts, manicures, and waxing treatments. Duggan and McCreary found that reading muscle and fitness magazines correlated with levels of body dissatisfaction in both gay and straight men (23). Unlike Barbie, whose shape has become more realistic in recent years, action figures have become increasingly muscular and devoid of body fat (24).
And so have children…
“According to a recent study, children exposed to excessive TV viewing, magazines, and movies are at higher risk of obesity. When other variables are controlled, TV exposure independently increases the odds of becoming overweight by 50% for both men and women (16). Furthermore, the type of exposure, not the amount, is correlated with negative body image. Specifically, rates of exposure to soap operas, movies, and music videos were associated with higher rates of body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness (17). Excessive media consumption also may be correlated with the rate of childhood depression.”