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Media Representation of Body Image and Young Peoples’ Self Perception

Metka Kuhar

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 267 Kb

str. 97-112

preuzimanja: 5.431



Contemporary consumer society stresses in ubiquitous beauty standards
and the significance of slimness and other hardly attainable body attibutes.
Many people are dissatisfied with their bodies. This is mostly evident in the
adolescent phase. Research findings reveal the significance of socio-cultural
characteristics for the development of unfavorable body image, especially the
negative impact of the media constructed thin ideal that is beyond the reach for
most women. The body images of girls are influenced by the perception of
media ideals, as well as by the perception of boys’ estimation of an ideal
woman’s figure, by the perception of their own ideal figure, and by the perception
of their actual figure. My interdisciplinary sociological and communication
research among young people in Slovenia was intended to establish
which of these factors influence girls’ body images most. The research findings
show that girls feel strong media pressures. The media ideal images are
perceived as extremely thin; on average they are perceived as thinner than
their own ideals. Their own ideals are on average stricter than the perceived
boys’ ideals of woman’s body. The perceived boys’ ideals influence the girls’ body images less significantly in statistical terms than the perceived media
ideals. The girls think that the perceived boys’ ideals are not as strict as the
media ideals. It follows that the girls primarily worry because of media
pressures. Young people need proper media education and consciousness
raising to learn how to recognize the media pressures and resist them. They
need help to learn to use the visual media selectively and to be less conformist
and more critical towards the media body ideals.

Ključne riječi

body image; body representation; body idealization; mass media; consumer society; media influence; young people

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