Media and Consumerism Essay

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“Our Beauty Obsession: An Investigation into the causes and effects of modern beauty ideals in a world driven by consumerism and mass media.”

Research questions:

    • What are the current standards of beauty and how have they been shaped and structured by platforms such as social media?
    • How are today’s beauty ideals affecting the body image of adolescent females?
    • Do these beauty standards influence self-esteem in young girls?
    • Are these identified beauty standards promoting body-shaming in any way?
    • How is escalating consumerism impacting the shaping of rigid beauty ideals?


The method used for this research will be the secondary analysis method followed by the conduction of a survey. This will entail a detailed and thorough examination of all content (articles, readings, media, audio) that is related to concepts, definitions, reflections, and comparisons in all social, cultural, and individual aspects of the specific construct of ‘beauty’ and how it has now evolved into the universal perceptions regarded as ‘beauty ideals’. After the assessment of all these sources, a cross-comparison will be conducted to identify the common themes that emerge from every written, visual, or audible statement. The articles examined will be specifically based on the collective and universal beauty standards that have appeared and evolved over the years, the aim is to examine as many articles as possible that have a strong linkage to the topic in question. After the secondary analysis is conducted, the next focus will be the construction of a proper survey questionnaire that can properly highlight and extract the focal points from which accurate interpretations can later be obtained. The survey will contain appropriate questions of both close-ended and open-ended nature that will serve as means of exploration of every theme that was identified in secondary analysis. It will be important to make sure that all these questions are structured as to address specifically and be directed towards and understandable by the target sample from the population which will be young and middle-aged females from the ages of 15 years to 25 years. It will be essential to make sure that the questions are answered honestly and with a good amount of consideration for which the process of survey administration will be monitored. The target sample will consist of about 200 individuals, where maximum effort will also be allotted to obtain the survey data from women with diverse backgrounds, professions, and characteristics to obtain a diverse, integrated, whole, and representative picture of the entire population. To obtain a representative sample, random sampling will be used to make sure that the sample replicates the characteristics of the population, and if this is not ensured then the data will not have much power of generalization. Essential value will be given to making sure that faulty data that may have been induced by several elements (e.g. social desirability factor) will be recognized and countered to make sure that the obtained information will be useful and accurate to generate applicable results.

Literature review:

It has now become common knowledge that rapidly spreading phenomena such as mass media and consumerism have impacted the world in more dimensions than one. Many researchers have analyzed and assessed different aspects that can be taken into consideration while attempting to understand seeping influence. Beauty standards have aggressively been shaped by concepts imparted through these sources, an occurrence that has been explored in many studies. The stemming of such negative factors as body dissatisfaction is absorbed by social ideals which in today’s world are almost completely obtained from one or another form of media (Mills, Shannon, & Hogue, 2017). All of these are slowly leading the world towards the phenomenon of globalization of beauty, which is disseminated through many forms and sources such as magazines, advertisements, and consumerism (Yan, & Bissell, 2014). Despite its universal nature, many researchers also provide evidence that cultural factors play a very strong role in promoting concrete beauty ideals, incongruency to which often leads to emotionally negative outcomes that in some collective cultures have greater dominance due to interdependence (Madan, Basu, Ng, & Lim, 2018). Mass media and consumerism are very related as they are both fundamentally over-lapping in many areas and promote the survival of one another the role of consumerism in enhancing and promoting unachievable beauty standards, for the achievement of which women strive to constantly purchase products has been deemed as beauty propaganda (Greenfield, 2018). It gradually becomes prominent that the emergence of such trends and standards relating to beauty has its roots in economic strategies that go on to target the emotional as well as psychological well-being of vulnerable women or even healthy ones that ultimately submit to the pressures of conforming to fit into societal roles and ideals. Excavation of these deep-lying causes, also reveals that many studies point to Capitalism as the source and reason for all such perspectives (Guerra, 2016). The presence of many psychologically-induced eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa that stem from distorted body images, physical dissatisfaction, or body shaming can all be liked in at least one form of media (Sidani, 2016). Sidani also claims through the results of his statistical findings, that usage of social media produces great concerns for young individuals, particularly girls regarding eating consciousness, concerns, and guilt. This points towards the extremely dangerous but very rarely considered side of mass media which is simply regarded as a trend and consumerism, which is in layman's terms just the desire and enjoyment of purchasing and acquiring. Studies conducted across diverse contexts uncover other elements such as how social media invites peer comparison and contrasts with media influencers, yielding a very high presence of such psychologically and emotionally harmful attributes (Adjin-Tettey, 2015). General standards of physical beauty that are constantly propelled to a global audience through the many platforms of social media have also been known to negatively affect mental health in even young children (Kholmogorova, Tarhanova, & Shalygina, 2017). Consistent exposure to media sources has been discovered to pose potential threats to the way young women who belong to very diverse cultures perceive their bodies, which can be hinted at its relation to other explicitly dangerous practices as self-harm or self-hatred (Nagar, & Virk, 2017). Social media has often been anchored to the increasing dissatisfaction with physical appearance for all individuals, especially teens and adolescents, studies have even produced detailed findings that social media is playing an escalating role in the ever-increasing desire and need for cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery (Walker, Krumhuber, Dayan, & Furnham, 2019). The varying discoveries of all these researches overly suggest and imply that mass media and consumerism are not playing much of a positive part in the lives of young individuals, especially women who are constantly being pressurized and misled at the hands of consumer culture and an age of technological mass media that has taken over the lives of every person. The current products of these plague-like phenomena are adversely impacting too many functional dimensions of women of every age and context, which is unanimously agreed upon by the majority of researchers that have explored every venture and turn that the age of mass media and consumerism has shaped in its wake.

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Ethical considerations:

The conduction of a study that explores a perception-dependent topic such as beauty ideals within the realm of mass media and consumerism influence requires firstly an accurate representation and information on the part of every individual involved, and this can only be obtained if proper ethical practices are followed. The consent form is the primary requirement of any ethically aligned research, the participants will be fully informed of the objective of the study and what we mean to accomplish by it, and they will be well aware of their right to withdraw at any moment of the study, despite the extent of their contribution. Subjects will also be assured that the information they are providing will only be used for research purposes and kept fully confidential, the presence of anonymity in the survey questionnaire will be useful for eliminating threats such as the social desirability factor and will also help gain the trust of the individual, accomplish the dual goals of rapport-building as well as accurate-information extraction. It is also important to review and assess that the questionnaire items are in no way leading or loaded, or in any way aimed at shaping the perception or answer of the individual in any certain direction. No visual or vocal data will be collected without the individual’s concern, lack of awareness that may hinder the individual’s answering of open-ended questions will not be tampered with to keep the data as authentic as possible. No subject should be emotionally offended or harmed during the process of this study and the values, beliefs, and perceptions of every individual will be respected with no discrimination or imparting that any characteristic subject is superior or inferior to the study. The research will fully comply with all these important concerns. 

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Media and Consumerism Essay. (2024, April 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
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