Literature Review: Increasing eating disorders amongst teenage girls in correlation to women portrayed in music videos Young woman face numerous obstacles and confusion about their body image in everyday life. A lot of teenage female’s views of their body relates to what is displayed in music videos. Music videos are made partly to promote fashion, the music itself, and uphold trends. However, they tend to focus mainly the physical appearances of young people. These trends promote the ideal to be as thin and flawless as possible.
This ultimately reinforces eating disorders in young females. A number of females agree to the feeling of wanting to be thin. A study by Marika Tiggemann, Ph. D, (1996), was designed to test the correlation between how women portrayed in the media would affect teen girls who watch the programs. Tiggemann had designed a questionnaire and administered it to 94 teen girls who attended high school. The girls had to watch a certain amount of television in the previous week. The type of television watched was varied and included music videos.
The results were that most of the students had felt a sense of wanting to be thinner because this was what was presented to be as beautiful in the music videos that they had watched. The media in question proved to glorify female thinness that could only be achieved through starvation. However, the young girls participating in this study could have preconceived thoughts about their weight and could have already had an eating disorder. This study could have been expanded by including more females from different high schools and communities.
A psychological evaluation of participants could have been used to screen the females to determine their state of mind before the test was conducted to provide more accurate results. Calado 2010 conducted a study administered to 1156 adolescent students between the ages of 14 and 16. Calado used a questionnaire to gain a perspective on how teenagers viewed their body weight after comparing themselves to mass media including music videos. Music videos showed depictions young fashionable skinny people.
When the questionnaires were reviewed, the results indicated that a percentage of young females with a known history of eating disorders had in fact been exposed to more hours of television media. (such as music videos and magazines). The teens with no history of eating disorders had less media exposure. This experiment suggested that television programs with body imaging, such as music videos, may have developed the eating disorders in some of the teens with prolonged exposure to influential television.
This study could have been more in depth had they tested youths who were not yet exposed to this type of media, such as music videos containing skinny type models, and then re-evaluated the same youths once they’ve had exposure to the media. Comparing these results could show how the individuals first thought about their bodies before any media influence. Then the task would be to identify whether media is solely or partially to blame for the increased odds of young females developing eating disorders.
Interviewing children who have been exposed to multiple sources of media might already have preconceived perceptions of their bodies. At this point it becomes hard to pinpoint at what moment they developed their eating disorder and what sources it came from. A study conducted, (Davies 2007), was based on African-American female teens. The method of testing, of whether or not female teens sense of body image were affected by music videos, consisted of questionnaires given to 522 females in the surrounding communities.
The study focused on the depictions of females in rap music videos. Davies concluded, from the information gathered, that rap music videos contained more drug substance abuse and explicit sexual content involving females when compared with rock, country rhythm and blues music videos. Davies also concludes that African-American youths are exposed to 3. 3 hours of black entertainment music videos, otherwise known as B. E. T. Davies says BET depicts scenes that objectify African-American women.
The videos portray an unrealistic standard on how women should look, and often female teens want to achieve this look. According to the music videos, it is only desirable if the women have curves in the “right” places and an overall thin-like appearance. This study could have been expanded to include numerous ethnical groups, simply because the channel B. E. T does not just target African American youths but youths in general. The music videos on B. E. T expose all ethnicities of females and could play a part in youths feeling dissatisfied with their body type.
Davies results may be altered if more female teens with different backgrounds who watch BET are added to the study. Research by (Bessenoff, G. R. 2006) studies undergraduate females, some of which have pre-existing negative thoughts regarding their body image along with women who were satisfied with the appearance of their body. Although these women are not teenagers in this study, it still relates with the notion that all women in general can be affected negatively by watching music videos.
Even in adulthood females can be vulnerable to undesirable thoughts about their physiques due to the images of women depicted in the media. The more the women in this study had watched advertisements/music videos, which showed skinny models, the more they displayed feelings of sadness and lowered self-esteem. All the women, regardless of how they felt about their bodies previously to the experiment, would still compare themselves with the images that they had been exposed to while watching the media.
Women who already displayed dissatisfaction with themselves were prone to additional negative feelings regarding their bodies after viewing the skinny images of women in the media. Bessenof notes the influence caused by media will not interfere with women who were apart of the advertisement process or trained in media analyses. These women will be less likely to participate in comparing their bodies to what they see portrayed in the media. (Suthers, L. 007) writes about a researcher named Tara Liegh-Fleming, who explores body image views of Aboriginal girls. Leigh-Fleming gains her insight by holding an interactive discussion group called, “Body Talk”. She felt that basic surveying, the approach that other researchers had done, may not be as effective as group conversations with the young women themselves. Body Talk, is a monthly discussion group set to unveil the full intricacies about how young females deal with the pressure from media exposure.
While Leigh-Flemming obtains information from these group talks and adds it to her research she also wants to provide help and awareness for teenage females. This method of research is based on personally interviewing teens while providing support for towards their feelings of their body image. This relates to eating disorders by letting the teens distinguish between realistic and unrealistic body imaging. Conversations would stress the importance to not to starve oneself to achieve the unrealistic standards of media, including music videos.
The method of gaining information through conversation would be more effective for data purposes. Researchers choose surveying as their main source of gathering information, which was beneficial to an extent. Is just surveying individuals enough to grasp the full impact that social media has on young females? Taking the interviewing process to the next step, by having group conversations is an efficient way to hear different perspectives of how media pressure correlates to the rise of eating disorders in female teens.
Should more extensive approaches be used such as conducting a psychological evaluation prior to surveying? Would individuals being studied at a younger age and then re-evaluated when they reach their teens provide better results when figuring out if media is mainly responsible for eating disorders in young females? Do family members add to the critical self-imaging in teens? There are other methods that can be applied to expand current knowledge about media like music videos and their impacts on how female teens view themselves physically.