Writing A College Research Paper On How Media Affects Body Image


This has been a hot topic for some time now. Research has shown the mass media definitely has an effect on how people feel about their body. This is much more prevalent during the teenage and young adult years. We have compiled some suggested points of interest to focus on when writing a college thesis on how the media affects body image.

  • We have no control over what type of message the media sends
  • More than 85% of Americans watch television on a daily basis. Children ages 8-18 spend on average 8 hours per day using some media type device. Cell phones, video games, computers and tablets all give children access to a plethora of sexually objectified images. Even programs meant for the youngest children will emphasize the important of being attractive in today’s society.

  • Research shows there are long-lasting effects of media exposure
  • It has been proven the media’s suggestion that women must be thin, give young women this perception and has led to body shame and eating disorders. This same type of perception that men should be muscular is also known to make young men feel body shame. The numbers may not be as high, but it is still definitely a problem.

    The effect seems to start at a young age and then carry over into adulthood.

  • Health issues and the media
  • Some studies have shown that 40% of girls between 9-10 that were examined had already tried to lose weight at some point in their lives. This is a very frightening piece of information! No child should ever attempt dieting without the supervision of their doctor. When these young girls were asked why they felt the need to lose weight, almost all answered unanimously, to look more like the girls they see on TV and social media. These numbers of body dissatisfaction only increase as they get into their later teens. It is suggested some 78% of 17-year old females are unhappy with their body. Over 8,000,000 people in the world suffer from some type of eating disorder, 90% of those are women.

  • Focus on appearance
  • Approximately 50% of all commercials are aimed at women and their appearance, as opposed to only 3% geared towards men’s appearance. Almost 1 in 3 articles you will find directed towards teens and young females, are ways to improve your appearance.

This can be a really touchy subject to write on, with much-needed attention. Studies are being done all the time; it is suggested that you use the most up-to-date research when writing your paper.