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Essays by KT

Media and Our Self-Image

Affirming Diversity
Which Way Home
Mis experiencias con español
La figura de la madre
La redención
Manifestations of the Divine Brahma
The Six Models of the Church
Affirmative Action
A Friend Is
A persuadir
Aprovecha el día
Armas de fuego
Asperger's Disorder
ASDs: Autism
Black Friday
Book Intro
Big Boys Dont Cry?
Cancion del pirata
Cell Phones
Cathedral Within
Change the World
Child Care
Civil Society
Christian Family
Organ Donation
Deanne Bray
Drug Testing
Faith in Narnia
Fast Food?
Guns and Games
Grenz Review
The Odyssey
I Am
Jesus the Christ
Keep the Laws!
La ciencia
La inmigración
Louis Braille
Marriage Reflection
Mi lugar de refugio
My Life (Erikson)
My Special Place
Reflection -Marriage
Romance sonámbulo
Public-service values
Semana Santa
Spe Salvi
Teen Suicide
Un Santo legendario
Better World
The Four Loves
"Jesus Freak" Picture
Mona Lupe
Mother of Jesus
Holy Eucharist
Religión en Niebla
The U.S. Economy
Todo es regalo
Trip to NY ...
True Friends
Una lección
Unlikeliest Friends
Santo legendario
Vs. and Verses
What's the Diff?
Walsh Review
Means to be Human
Million dollars

September 10, 2006

ENGL 101

A thirteen-year-old victim of body dysmorphic disorder, a fourteen-year-old anorexic, and a sixteen-year-old mother of two. What do these people have in common? They are all victims of media’s influence. Each one of these people at one time or another told their parents not to worry because media wouldn’t influence them like it did so many others. But, whether in a positive way or a not-so-positive way, media does influence us, particularly our self-image. Media affects different people in different ways.

Now thirteen, my cousin feels that her facial complexion isn’t good enough. It doesn’t meet the expectations that media are obviously implying. "But I want skin like Hannah Montana," she says. As I try to explain to her that it’s television, and that she has a complexion that even Hannah Montana would be jealous of, I realize that my cousin has become a victim of media’s influence, this time in the form of body dysmorphic disorder. This newly diagnosed condition is becoming more and more frequent. Body dysmorphic disorder is a "preoccupation with a certain body part" (Draelos). With my cousin, she is preoccupied with her face, or rather her complexion. With a couple zits, she’s a basket case. This is a normal process that every healthy body goes through. There is no cure for them, only ways to prevent them or to cover them up.

At fourteen, a friend of the family felt that she wasn’t skinny enough. "I want to be as thin as Kyra Sedwyk." The Closer had become an idol to her since the day the first season had first premiered. I tried to show her that she was just as thin than Kyra. "In 1973, popular models and beauty queens weighed only 8% less than the average woman. Currently, they weigh 23% less, which is a size achievable by only 5% of the female population" (Media). Then I realized that this person who I’d known my whole life fell into the trap of media’s influence, this time in the form of anorexia. My friend stopped eating. "But refusing to eat is only a small part of the disorder. It is an oppressive illness that tears down the victim psychologically and physically" (Renes). My friend changed.

At sixteen, my friend of two years became a mother of twins. When she started dating and talking to me about her relationships I merely warned her not to stoop down to the level of what was shown on Sex and the City. But now, at sixteen, my friend was giving birth to twins. She, too, became a victim of media’s influence. Her life was now a living drama. She was cool though. Or at least according to the people in Sex and the City.

Media do influence us, whether or not we think they do. Whether or not we want to admit to it, media have a big impact on our lives. "65% of children today have a television set in their bedroom, most of them with unlimited access to view unhealthy influences. Because of this, many children grow up feeling that they must look like the models and celebrities that they see on television" (Media). It’s no wonder our parents worry about the influence media will have on us. So, even though we may tell them not to worry because media won’t influence us the way it does so many others, they’ll worry. Because, as sure as our parents will worry about us, the media will influence us. In fact, "a People magazine found that 80% of women felt that the images of women on television, in movies, and in advertisements and magazines made them feel insecure about themselves" (Media).

Works Cited

Draelos, Zoe Diana. "Are We Creating a ‘Vanity’ Society?" Global Cosmetic Industry 173.8 (Aug. 2005): 22. ProQuest. ProQuest Company. Montcalm Community College Library. 05 Sept. 2006 <>.

Renes, Susan. "Anorexics Are Victims of Society’s Obsession with Thinness." Anorexia 2001. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thompson/Gale. Montcalm Community College Library. 01 Sept. 2006 <>.

"Media and its Effect on Body Image." Currants. 26 Sept. 2006 <>.