The what society deems as beautiful. It is

The topic on the idolisation of people body image can come off as a taboo. Not everyone is very open or very willing when it comes to talking about their weight issues or their undergoing eating and behaviour disorders which is caused by fashion industries idolising the body image. The thought for young students to fit the cookie cutter mold in society can be a major concern amongst the school students in Malaysia. Body image is the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feeling that result from that perception. A negative body image, can surface when a person feels as if their self image does not match to what society sees as the ideal body image. There has been a study made, where it demonstrates that when there is a body image dissatisfaction which occurs during an individual’s late childhood and adolescence, it could lead to a variety of negative outcomes and effects throughout their life. This is a study to see if the idolization of body image in the fashion industry really affect school students in Malaysia.Part 1:If we look around us at anytime throughout our own lifetime then we will, for a fact, always see beautiful women and men with flawless pale skin promoting some kind of “magic cream which makes you noticeably fairer… in Nature’s own gentle way!”, or a leggy supermodel walking up to the camera, with a figure that we could just dream off, posing or strutting for a photoshoot. This would then lead us to look towards our own body and then question as to why we don’t look a certain way, and thus leading us to comparing ourselves to others who fit as to what society deems as beautiful. It is still considered as a debatable topic when it comes to what age a child would start developing body dissatisfaction, but there is no doubt that when they reach their adolescence or teenage life, they will start to have the capability to evaluate and compare ones body to what the ideal body type is. For example, males tend to be more concerned to how their muscles look and how muscular they are compared to others, whereas girls are more prone to be concerned about how their hips, thighs and legs look. The development of their individuals image is contributed by the concerns and preoccupation with the individual’s body weight, shape and size.There is an increasing pressure during their teenage life for, males and females, to desire a certain body type to conform to how the “ideal body shape” looks like. There is a limitation towards studies which are focused on body image in Malaysia. In a study on females, aged around 13-16 years by Pon et al, overweight females had higher body image misrepresentation and tended to skip meals, compared to those who had the normal body weight. As for young adults aged 19-30 years old, Khor et al found a significant correlations between negative feelings pertaining to the physical self and uninhibited eating behaviour. To further investigate why there is an impact to the idolisation of body image, I will look further into what the pressure points are when it comes to those who are triggered by their own negative thoughts on their own body. However we will first look if one gender feels more pressure to be a certain type compared to the other, or is there a comparison? When it comes to looking at how males view themselves when it comes to body dissatisfaction, it usually derives from their drive for masculinity and self-esteem, and to some extent relationship problems. There is starting to be an increase of males being dissatisfied with their body image which could be due to the emerging social pressures for males to achieve a certain body image, which is usually to be lean, fit and muscular. The study on the male body becomes very crucial when it comes to the topic of the dissatisfaction of their body image, because males tend to be a more vulnerable group to psychological problems (e.g. self worth, etc) in college life. As there are many pressures in college, which could occur due to peer pressure to be or act a certain way, could possibly place male students on a precarious foundation and searching for ways to gain acceptance in their lives (Kanekoa, 2007). One way a male student could gain acceptance in their group orientated environment, is by gaining their status by achieving their desire to fit the ideal body image. However by doing this it may create a cycle in the environment around them, like for instance, by presenting himself to others after achieving their desired body image, where to others their physical appearance and physical attractiveness might influence them to either gain confidence and boost their egos, or deflate their masculinity which could trigger some negative effects. Body image derives not only from an individual’s cognitive and emotional development, but that feelings about one’s body can influence other psychological characteristics, like for example, affecting their self esteem (Davis, 1997; McCreary & Sasse, 2000; Olivardia et al., 2004; Sheffield, Tse & Sofronoff, 2005). However, there are alot of studies which shows as to why and how males desire masculinity which then leads to an increase in body dissatisfaction among the male population, but the research on the development of the male body has not really been looked at in Malaysia which could lead to a difference in perception towards the issue of the ideal body image. This could be because, in Malaysia, many do not have the privilege to be exposed to media images of male bodies comparing them to the Western context. The fact that in this age, there is a gradual acceptance in any body image whether you are skinny or not. The plus size industry has been booming recently which allows more people to be able to accept their own body image and be more kind towards what they were born with. Now, if we look all around us, billboards and advertisements are filled with beautiful women, who have creamy white skins with long legs and beautifully straight hair. Media has been one of the most influential form of mass communication for decades. It has been responsible for the conveying of socio-cultural values relating to the ideal body shape and size, which then creates an understanding of the ideal man and woman (McCabe et al., 2007). Since there is an increase throughout the years in variation when it comes to types of media, which includes newspapers, magazines, social media, movies, and more, it can be seen as a trend that when it comes to advertisements, women are portrayed as the ‘flawless thin ideal’. This is the idea of how women should be of a slim feminine physique, which includes having a small waist and generally a small body. This has then led to the fact that, when the media portrays and ideal body image, it could lead to a number of negative impacts on the girl or women watching it. One of the main negative impacts that girls would face is the dissatisfaction of their own body, which would then lead them into developing an eating disorder. According to Pollock-Died (1989) the media does not show heavy women leading normal social lives, and Cash & Pruzinsky (1990) found that slim women are seen as glamorous people living glamorous lives. The notion that girls body image and self esteem could be affected by mass media is something that has always been circulating throughout the years, ever since hollywood stars, or singers, or models, have become famous not from their talent but only for their looks. The population will then see how their looks are portrayed to become what is ‘ideal’ for society in general. This would then lead to these young girls dieting in order to achieve a perfect body image, which are often seen as unrealistic. Fredrickson & Roberts (1997) created a theory which is based on the idea that females are prone to internalise and observer’s perspective as a primary view of their own physical bodies. This theory claims that eating disorders and body dissatisfactions are lead by girls constantly monitoring their body, due to the fact that body objectification is increasing in women, and this has led to a conscious effort for girls to change their physical appearance through any possible way which would include diets and exercise changes. This could be beneficial, but to a certain extent these changes will lead to many kinds of disorders such as bulimia and anorexia due to the fact that these changes are not always done by exercise and dieting, but also through surgery and having an unhealthy eating habit. The reason as to why women tend to have a mindset of body dissatisfaction is usually because girls are subjected to body objectification. This would then lead to body surveillance which is when there is a constant monitoring of your body from an outsider’s perspective. This can result to body dissatisfaction by adding on the the realisation of an inconsistency between one’s own body and an internalised body ideal. Fredrickson & Roberts (1997) states that all females experience some form of body objectification, however it can vary between females depending on age, class, sexuality and ethnicity. Stephen & Perera (2014) conducted a study on 30 female Malaysia and Chinese participants aged between 18 and 23. They were recruited from the University of Nottingham. The objective of this was to see how the participants preferred their body image to be. So they were told to wear tight fitting grey tank tops and bicycle shorts, to make their body shape visible. Their body was then compared to models of varying attractiveness and body weight. The results were that the participants preferred a lower weight to achieve their ideal attractiveness, however they didn’t seem to care about their own health when trying to achieve their ideal body image. Besides that, the type of media images that women tend to view have affected the way that women have been viewing their own body, so this shows that being exposed to images of models, even for a short while could affect women’s perceptions of attractiveness, but not health. Another study was made by Champion & Furnham (1999). It consisted of 203 teenage girls becoming the participants. They were all from different cultures and each of their BMI’s were calculated. In the end, the results concluded that in this study, many believed that they were slightly overweight or obese, however, looking at the data collected, only 32% of them could actually be defined as obese or overweight, based on health statistics. It can also be seen that majority of the girls wished to have a thinner body shape. Age plays a big role when it comes to the overall view of body dissatisfaction. Looking at the data, it could be seen that when it came to the older group of girls who were aged 18 and abovehave indicated that there has been a dissatisfaction with their body image, compared to girls who were below the age of 18. Another study was made with Krahe and Krause (2010), where they examined how thin and normal weight models influence the female population. They used 50 female undergraduate students from a university in Germany, and their background were of Caucasian origin. They were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions. These included the thin models and the normal weight models. The average age of the participants was 22 years old. In conclusion, the results showed that women who viewed the advertisements showing thin models, were more likely to choose the diet variant of a snack, compared to the other women, who saw the same advertisement but still chose to snack on the normal snack. It is clear when looking at all of the three studies mentioned, going from the year 1999 to 2014, it is evident that girls favoured a slimmer figure to what they have themselves, and are very conscious of their own weight, believing that it above their actual weight making them worried that they would not achieve their ideal body type.


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