The authors discuss some of the effects of media messages on the socialization and productivity of women in society. The media suggests that women should be attractive whenever they present themselves in front of other people. Consequently, many women are forced to consume certain types of food in order to be attractive.
The researchers aim at showing that physical attractiveness has a number of advantages while unattractiveness is a liability to any woman. The media insists that women should have slim bodies in order to be attractive (Lavin, & Cash, 2001). The article tends to confirm that the media is one of the tools used in society to discriminate against women, as it portrays big-bodied women as shapeless and unattractive.
The main aim of the article is to show that the idea of attractive body image, which is insisted on the media, is simply a form of stereotyping and discrimination on women’s bodies. The weight prejudice that is often reinforced by the media and the society in general is a creation that aims at denying women a chance to participate in socio-economic and political development.
The study utilized a sample of sixty-six women (n=66) aged between twenty years and above. The participants were taken through an extensive interview on issues related to appearance, stereotyping, and discrimination, with a majority of them claiming that media messages affect their performance in society.
In particular, a majority of those interviewed claimed that the media promotes violence and aggression against women since it portrays men as strong individuals who have the right to use force to obtain what they want. Participants were willing to share their views freely meaning that the issue of discrimination is of great concern to them.
The media portrays women as weak individuals who should be protected for them to achieve their goals and objectives. The question on discrimination based on gender received the highest response, with appearance receiving the least response. This implies that women are concerned with the media messages portraying them as weak and dependent on men.
The survey was the main instrument that the researchers utilized in obtaining data from the participants. The survey was distributed online and it took an approximated fifteen minutes.
Upon completion, participants were expected to post the questionnaires online whereby the raw data was sifted, evaluated, and analyzed using software. Due to fidelity concerns, surveys that lasted for only seven minutes were discarded. The researchers analyzed the raw data using software referred to as statistical package for social scientists.
The results of the study reveal that, even though media messages do not affect the mood of women, exposure to media messages affects body image evaluations among women. Additionally, the study discovers that women who schematically spend on their bodies are vulnerable to the harmful outcomes of the media messages.
Review of data and the results of the study prove that media messages affect the socialization of women in society. In particular, the media messages interfere with the sense of worth and self-efficacy of many women. This shows that media messages are a source of discrimination in society, as it portrays women as people who should be attractive only to please men.
The study answered the research question effectively, but it had some limitations, particularly regarding the sample since the number of those interviewed was small. The study used a valid data analysis method that allows secondary analysis in the future.
Lavin, M. A., & Cash, T. F. (2001).Effects of exposure to information about appearance stereotyping and discrimination on women’s body images. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 29(1), 51–58.