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Self-Esteem And Body Satisfaction

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Much of the literature on reality TV shows reveals that adolescents are dealing with several consequences in relation to self-esteem and body satisfaction. Bourn, Prichard, Hutchinson, and Wilson (2015), Markey and Markey (2010) and Vandenbosch and Eggermont (2014) discuss how self-esteem and body satisfaction are interrelated to reality TV shows and lay emphasis on how they are both negatively affected. Bourn et al (2015) and Markey and Markey (2010) deliberate the consequence of exposure to portrayals of beauty ideals and discuss that it is unfavorable for women who put in so much for their appearance since they are prone to body dissatisfaction, and may suffer from low self-esteem.

Correspondingly, they explain that social comparisons that occur from exposure to thin-ideal media have been linked to eating disorder symptomology in women and have consistently been shown to lead to dieting, lower body satisfaction, and greater negative affect among women. In addition, Bourn et al (2015) also stated that when participants’ BMI was taken into account, women with a greater BMI experienced less body satisfaction in the experimental condition compared to the control condition and therefore findings suggest that this exposure may negatively impact upon mood, and lead to lower body satisfaction and decreased positive mood for people with a greater BMI. Markey and Markey (2010), as an exception, discussed the effect of the media on men.

They engaged in the findings that men resulted in greater levels of body dissatisfaction, depression, and also had an interest in improving their bodies due to exposure of ideal male bodies. Vandenbosch and Eggermont (2014) explain how sexualizing media exposure was found to have an impact on the developing body image by encouraging adolescents to internalize thin-body ideals and treat their own bodies as objects. Hence, sexualizing TV has been found to trigger people’s viewpoints on their own bodies, which implies that many people value themselves based on their bodies and not their personalities. On the other hand, an argument showed that reality TV shows may actually have positive results on one’s self-esteem and body satisfaction. Ferguson et al (2013) mention that higher exposure to reality TV was linked to higher levels of self-esteem and greater expectations of respect in romantic relationships. Likewise, it was given that reality shows tend to emphasize on the imperfections of their stars, and seeing those imperfections in others on television assists in both being satisfied with one’s own body and in enhancing a girls’ sense of self-esteem.

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Focus on Appearance (desire for cosmetic surgery and self-objectification)

Studies have proven that reality TV shows play a major part in increasing girls’ focus on appearance which results in self-objectification and the willingness to go through cosmetic surgeries. Ferguson et al (2013) and Bourn et al (2015) developed the finding that reality programming is linked to an increased focus on one’s appearance. Reality TV programs that focus on weight and appearance (e.g., The Biggest Loser) are becoming increasingly popular and research is beginning to study the effect that reality TV shows have. It was also shown that older girls, who were more likely to watch television, had a greater focus on their appearance based on experiments and results.

In addition to Markey and Markey (2010), they all reveal how young adults are more likely to consider altering their appearance through cosmetic surgery after having seen cosmetic surgery reality programming. Bourn et al (2015) claimed that reality makeover programs and reality loss TV shows exhibited superior ratings of pressure to be thin, and this led to higher dietary restraints. Additionally, Vandenbosch and Eggermont (2014) explained that sexualizing media and TV leads to the same kind of negative results. They stated that exposure to sexualizing TV affects body surveillance, development of valuing appearance over competence, and causes self-objectification. Moreover, Markey and Markey (2010) also shifted the focus away from women, to showing men’s exposure to ideal media images and how it may not just affect their dissatisfaction with their appearance, but their global sense of self and interest in changing their appearance.

Sexual Attitudes and Relationships

Further than the factors talked over that are affected by reality TV shows, relationships and sexual attitudes are also targets affected by such shows. Ferguson et al (2013) and Markey and Markey (2010) debate in their research how reality TV viewing upsurges the quantity of respect received by both men and women in their relationships, and how this relationship could turn into a sensual rather than sexual one. Due to the struggles viewed in reality programming, this may function as a kind of psychological preparation for a girl’s own future relationship, as well as a sense of efficacy in being able to manage such relationships.

In contrast, Markey and Markey (2010) and Vandenbosch et al (2014) show that individuals watching these programs had more sexual attitudes, focusing on other’s appearance as well as highlighting the importance of taking sexual favors from others and this contradicts the previous research by explaining how men do not actually show a sense of respect towards women by acting dominant towards them sexually and expressing a sexual submissiveness to the female body as they treat a woman’s body as an object.

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Self-Esteem And Body Satisfaction. (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/self-esteem-and-body-satisfaction/
“Self-Esteem And Body Satisfaction.” Edubirdie, 18 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/self-esteem-and-body-satisfaction/
Self-Esteem And Body Satisfaction. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/self-esteem-and-body-satisfaction/> [Accessed 4 Feb. 2023].
Self-Esteem And Body Satisfaction [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 18 [cited 2023 Feb 4]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/self-esteem-and-body-satisfaction/
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