Marcella Meykler

In class we discussed the effect that media has on our perceptions of ourselves and the ideals we strive for. We talked about what influences popular culture and how it changes over time. We touched upon the fact that representations of thinness in the media may lead to eating disorders. There was a study done on how the introduction of media affected young girls’ perception of themselves and how they began developing eating disorders in response to the introduction of Western television. In a region of Fiji, there is a community of natives who have previously not been exposed to Western media. The culture is to eat a lot, and having a larger size is a sign of health and beauty. Teenage girls were interviewed and surveyed on their eating habits, and self perception is 1995 (when television has been introduced for only 3 months) and again in 1998 (when television had been around for 3 years). It was found that young girls experienced more eating-disordered habits, were less happy with their bodies, and strayed more and more from their cultural ideals. This study shows how representation in the media can influence the behavior of young girls. When they were interviewed, the girls said they wanted to emulate the characters in the shows they watched because the women had high power jobs and were independent. There is a link to a NY Times article explaining the study.

My abnormal psych professor showed us this study when we were discussing eating disorders. I don’t have access to the original article, but this is the next best thing.

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/20/world/study-finds-tv-alters-fiji-girls-view-of-body.html

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2 thoughts on “Marcella Meykler

  1. This topic was also very interesting to me because the media does have a hold on how we think and what we do. The media highlights certain things and people tend to believe that what they see in the news is true. But that is not always the case. I think that the news can never truly be honest because they will never get the true story. The only one who can tell the story is the victim. But even then the story may be biased because it is one sided. The news just needs stories to put out to keep their ratings up. I also wonder why the media only focuses on certain things. It seems like they try to compel us. But I find the media very interesting. I just don’t know how much we can really trust them.

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  2. In my child psychology class we actually spoke about a French model named Isabelle Caro, she’s actually an anorexic model. She went through hell and wanted to put an image on anorexia and how girls shouldn’t be influenced by the models in the media. Here is the video we watched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTIjRxT_Y9g. It’s a little graphic to watch but it’s such an important thing what she did.

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