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We already know that the influence of the media is enormous, but … do we really know how great their influence can be on people?
A team made up of researchers from the Erasmus University in the Netherlands, the University of Cologne in Germany and the University of Arizona, USA dedicated their time to assessing how the self-esteem of women varies against the different beauty models that are advertised.
The sample was made up of women between 18 and 25 years old, one group was overweight while the other had a body mass index within the limits considered as normal.
The results showed that the slimmer women had a high self-esteem when the models were physically similar to them, that is, they were not excessively thin or when the models showed a tendency to obesity since they felt positively different.
However, when women were overweight, their self-esteem decreased when they were exposed to extremely thin models or with a few pounds left, in the latter case because they identified with them and did not like the comparison.
Thus, thinner women showed a more constant self-esteem and the influence of the media was minimized, while the self-esteem of those who have more body mass or are overweight is variable and tends to decrease when compared to advertising models.
Another result shows that intentions of making a diet and exercise as well as eating habits also varied in women with more body mass. But only when they were exposed to images of overweight models.
Although we already know that self-esteem does not depend only on more or less pounds, without a doubt the acceptance of body image plays an important role, especially in a society that magnifies to incredible limits the importance of the physical.
In this way, it is not surprising that while the French government proposes to take measures to avoid Photoshop in advertising campaigns and Cibeles requires a certain body mass index so that their models can parade, thus excluding images of extreme thinness; There are other companies such as the Royal Opera House in London that dismisses one of its artists for not entering the dress and unfortunately it is not the only case, also the Russian Anastasia Volochkova suffered the same treatment.
However, warning that models images are retouched by Photoshop, although it may help, is not a definitive solution, it is necessary to work more on emotional literacy and teach young people to accept themselves as they are and work hard to achieve an healthy and balanced body image.
University of Chicago Press Journals (2009, Octubre). How Does Media Exposure Affect Self-esteem In Overweight And Underweight Women?. ScienceDaily. En: https://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/10/091013162758.htm