explanation of how adolescent males and females differ, generally, in their concern about weight and body image today. Explain your position on the influence of media on the differences evident in this age group, both contemporaneously and historically. APA format No Plagiarism 300+ words
Adolescence is a critical period for the development of body image and concerns about weight. During this time, males and females may differ in their attitudes and behaviors related to body satisfaction and self-perception. The purpose of this paper is to explore how adolescent males and females generally differ in their concern about weight and body image today, as well as to discuss the influence of media on the differences seen within this age group, both contemporaneously and historically.
Firstly, it is important to recognize that body image concerns and weight-related issues are prevalent among both adolescent males and females. However, research suggests that females tend to experience higher levels of body dissatisfaction compared to males (Lawrie, Simpson, & Campbell, 2016). Females are typically more likely to engage in weight control behaviors such as dieting, exercising, and body checking (Bucchianeri, Arikian, Hannan, Eisenberg, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2013). This difference may be partly attributed to cultural norms and societal expectations that emphasize thinness as a beauty ideal for women. In contrast, boys are more likely to focus on muscularity and engage in behaviors such as excessive exercise and the use of muscle-enhancing substances (Tiggemann, 2015).
One possible explanation for these gender differences in body image concerns is the influence of media. The media, including advertising, television shows, movies, and social media platforms, play a significant role in shaping societal beauty standards and ideals. Females are often bombarded with images of thin and highly edited female bodies, reinforcing the idea that thinness is desirable and attractive (Grogan, 2016). This exposure to idealized female bodies can lead to internalization of the thin ideal among adolescent girls, contributing to body dissatisfaction and weight-related concerns (Perloff, 2014).
In contrast, the media also portrays muscularity as an ideal for males, particularly through the portrayal of male models, athletes, and action heroes with well-defined, muscular bodies (Smolak, 2012). Adolescent males may feel pressure to conform to these muscular ideals and engage in behaviors to achieve or maintain a muscular physique (Leit & Pope, 2013). Magazine articles and advertisements targeted at males often promote muscle-building products, further reinforcing the importance of muscularity (Cafri et al., 2005).
It is important to note that the influence of media on body image concerns among adolescents is not solely contemporaneous but extends historically as well. Media representations of idealized bodies have been present for decades, albeit with changing beauty ideals across different periods. For example, the standards of beauty for women have evolved from the curvaceous figures in the early 20th century to the thin ideal prevalent in recent decades (Bessenoff, 2006). Similarly, male body ideals have shifted from a lean physique in the past to a more muscular ideal in recent years (Tylka, 2011). Media’s portrayal of these changing ideals has likely contributed to the body image concerns seen in adolescent males and females today.
In conclusion, adolescent males and females differ in their concern about weight and body image, with females typically experiencing higher levels of body dissatisfaction and engaging in weight control behaviors. The influence of media, both contemporaneously and historically, plays a significant role in shaping these differences. Media’s portrayal of thin female bodies and muscular male bodies as ideals can lead to the internalization of these standards among adolescents and contribute to body image concerns. Further research is needed to explore the complex interactions between media, gender, and body image in order to develop interventions aimed at promoting positive body image and well-being among adolescents.