Body Image

Body Image: Introduction

Body image concerns have been documented in children as young as three,[2] but it’s adolescents who appear to be most at risk for developing unhealthy attitudes towards their bodies based on this perception.

Impact of Media on Body Image

Though they are by no means the only factor, media representations of weight and body shape are a major element in body image concerns.

Body Image – Traditional Media

Traditional media like film, print and music still have a significant impact on young people’s body image. Research has found that even news coverage can promote weight bias by how it portrays people in larger bodies, both in photographs and in how it frames weight and health.

Body image – Digital media

Digital media such as social networks and video games have become increasingly important in the lives of children and youth. Even when young people are consuming other media, such as TV, music and movies, they’re likely to be doing it through the internet. As well, nearly all the media they consume, from TV shows to toys, have web pages, virtual worlds, video games or other digital spinoffs associated with them.

Media Education and Body Image

There’s significant evidence that media education can counter unrealistic media representations of men’s and women’s bodies. For example, a 2015 study found that girls as young as Grade 5 who had received media literacy education in school had higher self-esteem and body satisfaction.