Media Influence on Body Image

Welcome to my contemporary issues final project page! Here's a link to my blog, where I've posted a lot of information on this topic:

Here's a link to my final project:
I tried to upload it onto slideshare but my computer wouldn't allow it, so I've put the link to the finished powerpoint with the voicethread onto here. I'm sorry about that.



You probably knew that America is the world's fattest country, but I bet you didn't know it's also the country with the most instances of eating disorders. That seems a little ridiculous, right?
If an alien were to pick up a fashion magazine, or see a movie, they'd probably think that beautiful size 0 women and muscular, chiseled men were the norm in America. What makes this so strange is that only 8% of Americans actually fit these descriptions. In this case, majority clearly doesn't rule.
The average American sees 400 to 600 forms of advertisement about body image daily. On average, the female models in these ads are 5'11" and 117 pounds. On the other hand, the average American woman is 5'4" and 140 pounds. This discrepancy has been linked to negative body image, and it's part of the reason 80% of women are unhappy with their body image.
For a really good video about this topic, go to:

Eating disorders in the United States effect 1 girl out of every 100. These high rates of young women falling into the traps of anorexia and bulimia are very related to the media's projected "ideal" body. However, a type of media set apart from TV or magazine advertisements keeps these girls from recovering. New websites dedicated to providing "thin-spiration" have been emerging over the past few decades. Over 1,000 of these websites exist, and they are poisonous to recovering anorexics and bulimics. These websites are support groups to keep an eating disorder. It sounds ridiculous, but it's true. Hundreds of thousands of members submit posts and join chats about staying motivated with anorexia or bullimia. Some websites even pit members against each other to make them compete over how much weight they've lost. Others have galleries full of emaciated models that members can flip through whenever they feel "weak" about their excessive dieting.
In one of my earlier posts I talked about the "thin-spiration" websites that act as support groups advocating eating disorders. Thankfully, these websites have competition. Not only are there medical support groups to help anorexics and bulimics recover, there are also websites, like, which try to lessen the impact of media on Americans. This website says to "make yourself [the parents] the number one influence in your child’s life." It goes on to talk about the importance of kids looking up to their parents as role models instead of the people portrayed by the media. The idea is that, if a child has a strong support system and role model, he or she will be less likely to feel pressured into the media's body "ideal."
I like that websites like this one are fighting back, but as a teenage girl, sometimes the last person I want advice from is my mom. That's why as part of my project I want to make a support website based on chat rooms for anorexics and bulimics. That way I can learn about the disorders on a personal level, and maybe even provide support for someone who needs it.