The Impact of Modern Media on One's Body Image

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This research tends to find the impact of media on self esteem and body Image in male adolescents aged 18 to 25 years. Impact of media is very crucial with respect to the vital source of conveying social and cultural values in relation to body ideals, size and weight which is associated to dissatisfaction of body and sometimes linked with health concerns e.g. depression, low self esteem and disorders in eating habits. This research is conducted with 60 male adolescents. Researcher applied a quantitative non-experimental correlation design. Participant were asked to complete questionnaires titled “self esteem scale (Rosenberg, 1965), a body image questionnaire (Marnard, 2009) and application of media questionnaire designed for this specific research. Data was analyzed using SPSS. The analysis of the data informed the researcher that male are least concerned and media have less body image because they re not much self conscious about their appearance, further, no evidences of relationship between usage of media and body image. Contrary to the assumption it has been revealed that there is a negative relationship between self esteem and body image among males.


Research states that mostly mass media create negative feelings about body image in both males and females. The perception of ideal male and female is created social cultural values with regard to shape of body, size etc which is conveyed by media effectively. According to (McCabe, Butler et al 2007) there have been arguments about whether bodily image affects the mental health, self esteem and well being of the individual. Iamges in magazines, TV advertisements, Instagram, movies and social media sites all reflects the photographs of ideal men with heavy muscles and thin women believed to be ideal men and women. It has been indicated by (Cory & Burns, 2007) that throughout generations body ideals changes.

Further, research also inform that male are less concerned and affected as mentioned by (Hargreaves & Tiggemann 2006). A comparative study conducted by Brennan, Lalonde, et al (2010) with respect to how male and female perceive body images as a matter of dissatisfaction, both rated “body image reactions to a series of statements. Responding to the statement both hold an opinion that “when with attractive person, and discussing about personal experience, while recreational activities often experienced negative emotions. Indeed, this means that both feel insecure when in social situation / sites they are confronted directly or indirectly with “body”. Image.

Furthermore, (Muth & Cash 1997, see Doyle & Engein 2014) informed that few researchers stated that men are mainly more satisfied with regard to their physical appearances than women. On the other hand few researchers insist such as (Doyle & Engein 2014) that men also struggle with body image and they are caught for being too slim, thin or heavy and may develop feelings of anxiety. The bodily image of male is misunderstood in comparison to female male are found to be concerned about their muscles in a situation when male body image could be more complex where as it is not a matter of concern for female. According to (Brennan, et al 2010) female with thin structure is tending to be appreciated more than male, such male are perceived to be unhealthy male body image.

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Significantly, It is reported by (Daniel & Bridges 2013) about 95% of the college going male students are dissatisfied with their bodily images. It is an opinion of person’s own physical appearances and believed to be vital aspect of mental health and self-esteem throughout life. According to (Hater, 1998, Altabe et al 1996), the aspect of body image is linked to self-esteem, sexuality, relationship with family and personal identity. (Thompson, et al 1999) defined it as internal representation of person’s outer appearance and personal perceptions about the body. Several researches has indicated that body dissatisfaction results in low self esteem hence proving negative body image affects the mental health. Person having low self esteem is unable to cope up with the challenges of life and can’t be happy. It is stated by (Branden 1969) that the totality of confidence and self respect is termed as “self-esteem”. Such person has shaky confidence and may feel worthless it is informed by (Jackson, 1993; Harter, 1998). That research reveals that negative body image resulted in eating disorders and low self esteem. It could be said that it is psychological cause because the perceptions of person, thoughts and feelings influence upon the pathological aspects of the body. However, (Grogan, 1998) believes that due to negative thoughts of an individual the feelings of body dissatisfaction is developed and mainly it is determined by media images and social interactions and experiences.

Male and Effect of Media

With regard to male there are few studies conducted on this topic, according to (Smith, 2000) thin women represented in media are considered “ideal” but they have low self esteem and body dissatisfaction. Thus, less research has been conducted to investigate to what extent mass media have negative impact on male, bout since past four decades attention has been diverted towards these crucial aspects. Investigation conducted by (Dunn, Barnes, et al 2011) about men’s body image and eating disorders and results educated that men can have just as low body image as women but some stereotype do exist believing that only women are conscious about issues of body image.

Furthermore, the study conducted by (Leit et al 2001) suggest to what extent mass media influence body image, they measured muscle size of “centerfold of Playgirl magazine” and concluded that male models presented in the magazines increased in muscularity. In addition to this (Pope, Gruber et al 1999) reported that “present figures of action toy portray growing muscle size across four decades, whereas, (Muris, van De Bom et al 2005) reported that researchers also indicated pressure of media decrease the self esteem of male and decrease body satisfaction (Agliata et al 2004), Cafri & Thomson 2002) added that on average male desire to have 14.96 pounds of mass of muscles. Indeed muscularity dissatisfaction may result to lower life satisfaction and lower self –esteem.

In contrast to above mentioned perceptions researches also indicate that pressure from mass media negatively correlated with methods applied by male to increase muscles as reported by (Mc Cabe et al 2003), they also added that male muscles cannot be increased by more exposure to mass media. Mc Cabe et al 2003 was supported by (Sanne, 2012), the conclusion of his research reveals that the experimental and control group who were exposed to idealized mass media content in a short commercial break on TV, no distinguishable differences were notified in overall body self esteem as measured by body self esteem scale of (Frazoi & Shields, 1984).

Concluding, it is very obvious form above discussion that there are contradictions in literature related to influence of media on male’s body image and self-esteem. During 2001 and 2002, ( Leit, et al 2001) as well as Cafri, Thompson et al 2001) indicated form the studies conducted that additional muscle mass is desired by males, may be due to toy action figures showing increase muscle mass or influence by the photographs of male having growing size of muscles posted in Playgirl magazines. Contrarily, during same period studies of (Mc Cabe et al 2003) stated opposite results mentioning no correlation between media exposure and low self esteem or body dissatisfaction among male.

Purpose of Research

The purpose of this research is to investigate the influence of media on body image and self esteem of men. Researcher applied quantitative method to find out whether mass media lay down negative impact on young boys aged 18-25 in Dublin, Ireland. Hence, this research is concerned with the body image of Irish men, large amount of literature focused upon how woman’s body image is influenced by mass media. Less research has been conducted on male indicate poorer influence of media on body image and self esteem in men. Therefore, this study aimed to find out whether exposure to media affects body image and self esteem and whether there is any correlation between low body image and low self esteem.

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