The Mass Media that we come in contact with comes in many forms, ranging from the television to the radio and newspaper. Magazines are also part of the list. Like newspapers, they come in print but they serve different purposes, contain different contents and are often preferred by youths over newspapers. This is especially so since magazines have become increasingly popular with youths. However, the contents and information provided by magazines may not be accurate of factual but a marketing tool to cater to their consumer base (youths). Therefore, it is inevitable that this information will have a negative impact on teenagers. We will discuss the negative impacts of magazines on youths in the light of the effect fashion magazines have on girls. Below are 2 articles showing how fashion magazines can be unfavourable.
New research indicates that ultra-thin magazine models do not have a long-term,negative impact on adolescent girls
Only vulnerable youth appear to be affected
Previous research indicated that exposure to ultra-thin models in fashion magazines leads to excessive dieting and body dissatisfaction among adolescent girls. However, a new study that will be presented at the American Psychological Association's 107th Annual Convention in Boston, August 20-24, 1999, found few lasting effects. Only those girls who already had body-image problems were at risk for negative effects.
Psychologists Eric Stice, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin; Diane Spangler, Ph.D., Brigham Young University; and W. Stewart Agras, MD, Stanford University, randomly assigned 219 girls, ages 13 to 17, to a 15-month subscription to Seventeen magazine, which is the most widely read magazine among adolescent females, or to a no-magazine control group and followed the girls for 20 months. Despite the increased amount of time participants spent reading the fashion magazine, there were no effects on body dissatisfaction, thin-ideal internalization, dieting or negative affect over time. The only adverse effect occurred in adolescents with initially elevated body dissatisfaction: Exposure to the fashion magazine resulted in increased negative affect/depression for these adolescents.
"The discrepancy between our study and previous research is largely because we measured the effects in a natural environment," said Dr. Stice. "Previous research that suggested magazine-portrayed, thin-ideal images would lead to eating disorders and low self-esteem among teenage girls consisted of laboratory experiments. This study suggests that the negative effects have little long-term impact."
Because the findings indicate that the only at-risk individuals are those who already have body-image problems, why the continued correlation between magazine models and eating disorders among teenage girls? "Perhaps high-risk individuals seek out thin-ideal media messages to learn more effective weight control techniques," said Dr. Stice.
However, Dr. Stice cautions that previous studies should not be discounted. "Forty-one percent of adolescent females report that magazines are their most important source of information on dieting and health, and 61 percent of adolescent females read at least one fashion magazine regularly," said the authors. "I think the media reflects a larger cultural pressure for an ultra-slender body," said Dr. Stice. "Parents, peers and dating partners may play a somewhat more important role than the mass media because feedback from these sources about body size is more personal."
Presentation: "Effects of Long Term Exposure to Fashion Magazines on Adolescent Girls (Effects of Media-Portrayed Thin-Ideal Images)" by Eric Stice, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin; Diane Spangler, Ph.D., of Brigham Young University; and W. Stewart Agras, MD, of Stanford University, Session 4220, 2:00 PM - 3:50 PM, August 23, 1999.
Fashion Magazine Effects On Teen Girls
From the ads, to the articles, a nation of young girls can be taught that they may never look good enough, and certainly not as beautiful as the large quantity of models that drape themselves across the magazine advertisements. As a result young girls are increasingly falling victim to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia as they strive to achieve the unhealthily slim physique of magazine models. These disorders occur most often in teens with low self-esteem, and girls that are easily swayed at the magazines' promise of the happiness that will come from a smaller waistline.
Appearance counts for alot in society, perhaps mostly in the teenage crowd. Wearing clothes that are out of style, or a hairdo from last year will quickly lower one’s social standing. In contrast, a fashion statement in society allows for much more self expression; it is seen as desirable.
Some girls see themselves as average looking, some think they fit the standards of which they’d like to be, and some see themselves far from satisfactory, but you’d be hard pressed to find a girl who thinks her looks are perfect. This is where fashion magazines step in.
Thin, sexualised and digitally enhanced mages of women are linked with women’s experiences of poor body image, depression and anxiety and eating disorders. The images contribute to self-harming behaviours and not performing well academically.
In young teenage girls, looking at pictures of thin, idealised models is likely to cause lowered satisfaction with their body and a high state of depression. Reading fashion and beauty magazines is associated with wanting to lose weight and initiating diets.
A five-year study found that reading dieting advice in magazines was associated with skipping meals, smoking, vomiting and using laxatives in teenage girls.
Liu Meng, Xueyi, Si Hui, Shelia, Valerie