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Mixed Media Messages on the Body Essay

Eating disorderliness has in the past been such a crisis in the public health sector. Vulnerability to the media (Internet, television, movies, newspapers, and magazines) is related to obesity and unfit body images which usually lead one to disordered eating habits.

The media is one facility that is so essential in our day to day lives since we get updated on so many issues. Without it, people would be so much left behind on the current affairs in happenings around them.

However, it so happens that the same media at times tends to give so much contradicting information that to some extent is even very risky.

Unless one has the capability or the knowledge to sieve what is necessary and what is not as provided by the media, people will follow what the media provides them with the illusion that it is the gospel truth.

Many people who are the victims of media mixed messages are often left frustrated when they have tried the advice provided by the media, and it has failed to work as it had been portrayed by the media which could be through the television or the newspapers.

Many people don’t understand that whatever the media is presenting is all commercial – its business that they are building at their (audience) expense for those who get duped.

This research paper is going to bring out clearly how the media corrupts people’s mind, and they blindly follow what is said. There are very few people who will understand that whatever is being presented to them is not always true.

We are living in a society that is displaying so much of assorted messages. The most affected target seems to women (Kilbourne, 1999). Most of the advertisements will bring to the audience images of very skinny models; several other publications will display invoking junk delicacies.

With such kind of advertisements from the media and most likely from the same media house, it just confuses people such that they are left confused on which one to follow (Kilbourne, 1999).

Flipping through the television, you will find pictures of unflawed, skinny (sometimes macerated) actresses on your favorite broadcast (Fallon, 1994). One is left to wonder what with such a trend the media wants to communicate towards the audience.

A good example is an advertisement for an actress/ model by the name Cameron Richardson.

Protectors of the commercials continue insisting that it is not skinny while as in a real sense she well fits in the extremist-thin idealistic body type and one just wonders whether with this kind of a body she eats those thick burger (Fallon, 1994).

The American Obesity Association indicates that over 30 percent of children and 65 percent of an adult in the population suffer from overweight. It shows further that the criterion for obesity is 15 percent for children and 30 percent for adults (Kilbourne,1999).

This trend has been attributed to the fact that children most of the time spend their time watching television and playing games but rarely play outdoors while adults also endlessly snack on low nutritional foods and rarely workout (Fallon, 1994).

This research by the American Obesity Association shows some of the reasons that lead to body image disorders among people in society. This also happens to the case in the African nation and especially among the rich.

People get so much concerned and disturbed by their body images due to the influence they get from the media. Through history, what is considered to be the ideal female beauty has often been impossible and hard to attain.

This is due to the simple reason for the way the media has portrayed it that the beautiful woman is the very slim one.

This becomes so difficult to attain majorly because the same media that portrays skinny bodies as the most ideal is the same media that encourages people to eat as much as they can, but at the bottom line, they tell the audience not to get fat.

Obesity is disliked, and therefore obese persons are viewed in such a negative manner. Consequently, it appears like the media is telling people to remain thin or else they could face the same kind of stigmatization that the obese people face.

With the rising factor of encouraging thinness, more and more of the dieting is being encouraged, and the craze for exercise is rising so high too.

Unfortunately, it is this rising of mixed up messages that also increases the rate of body dissatisfaction, and of oneself so negatively that leads to an increase in the feeding disorders.

Thus the messages the media bring to the public conflict, therefore, making it difficult to achieve both since one is directed towards consumption of fast foods while this is directed towards an extremity slim paragon (Kilbourne, 1999).

So the question is, which mass media messages to your bow to; is it the burger consumption or the efforts to attain a thin body?

It is not always that the images portrayed by the media are always true. For instance, in 2002 Jamie Curtis who is a renowned actress was used as the cover-page model for the More magazine in two different forms.

In one of the poses, she was worn in traditional glamour-up attire and the other pose she was dressed merely in her bra and a pair of shorts.

The flawless faces and bodies seen on magazine posters and photos have been enhanced and sprayed by expensive computer technologies which minimize and in some instances removes all flaws and defaces in the photos (Fallon, 1994).

In her very own words, “Jamie Lee said she has got ‘… very big breasts and a soft, fatty little tummy… and… back fat’” (Fallon, 1994. p.11). She had this feeling that there is a great need for women to understand that what they see in the media is always real.

Persons that are well-off can hire nutritionists and professionals to assist them in losing weight appropriately.

This only confuses the beneficiaries of the information by these media facilities by them thinking that all the celebrities always look so good. Little do they know the efforts that have been put to gain that so considered by the uninformed audience as the ‘celebrity figure.’

Most of these major celebrities will have the money to use in the fitness centers to attain the figure they want.

You will also find that before the due dates when ceremonies are held to present awards, those attending will have a routine to fast while enduring the torture of undergarments that are just so tight so as to reduce by flattening their stomachs for the sake of looking superb in an evening gown that will not spare you in case you have got any flaws on your body (Fallon, 1994).

This also acts as another way of confusing the audience of these shows which are the products of our media. Sometimes it could be so flattering if only people knew to in case such people happen to be advertising something to do with body fitness.

The media in the post-modern world is just as confusing as it is at times derailing; it tells women that they should be all rounded. They are expected to perfect it all- the home, family and the career.

The media creates a lot of frenzy about what is sexy and appealing creating a lot of confusion on who can be considered a role model in beauty. It is almost impossible that a very thin woman will have breasts that are naturally DD-cup size (Kilbourne, 1999).

Manufacturers of toys were able to dupe women that this can be possible when they made and availed the Barbie doll in the market with measurements that are biologically impossible for one to have (Fallon, 1994).

It is a bit unfortunate to find out that classical eating habits that are negative are also being diagnosed in young people some at the age of eight or even nine years and a much higher rate.

Clinicians are now tending to believe that the eating disorders they initially thought were due to non-adaptive family kinetics, are a multifactor in their origin (Fallon, 1994).

Family line dynamics are very important and so is biological sensitivity that comes because of mood swings and anxiety that surround cultural expectation and perception of beauty (Fallon, 1994).

However, parents also have a role to play in the way their children behave and specifically on their feeding habits (Kilbourne, 1999). This will help the children have a good understanding that it not always everything that is provided by the media that is to be relied upon.

In this way, they will not fall victim of the media’s conflicting messages that are everywhere no matter how much one may want to avoid them.

In conclusion, it is a wise idea that people get educated on the effects of the information that the media is providing them with to avoid being duped in any way possible.

Adults have to take the front line of being good teachers of healthy eating to their children, and this can be well done by establishing and piously following good eating habits and engaging in exercises to burn off extra calories (Fallon, 1994).

Any parent can be a witness that it is almost impossible for a child, for example, to accept an apple for a snack after having seen a very appealing advertisement of a new flavor of potato crisps (Kilbourne, 1999).

The message is likely to be passed on effectively to children if they consistently got a positive message about healthy eating habits and working out through positive media messages and advertisements (Kilbourne, 1999).

The media should also be telling the public the plain truth of how their messages can influence them negatively. They should let them know that increased eating disorders would lead to undesirable body images.

This would include increased obesity rates for children and also the adults which could lead to health complications in the later (Fallon, 1994).

Most importantly, people need to be taught on the importance of accepting their bodies and being made to understand that those extremely thin bodies that the media portrays are unhealthy, unrealistic and even unnatural (Kilbourne, 1999).


Fallon, P. (1994). Feminist Perspectives on Eating Disorder. New York: Guilford Press.

Kilbourne, J. (1999). Why Women Must Fight the Addictive Power of Advertising. New York: Free Press.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Mixed Media Messages on the Body'. 13 March.

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