Botta and Body Image

Body image is quite a large epidemic amongst women, especially girls in their teenage years whereas men’s issues about body image are not voiced in the media on an equal scale. The popularity of Men’s Health magazine which promotes fitness also raises awareness in the public mediated sphere of male body image and the importance of accepting a person for their inner beliefs as opposed to their physical appearance. “Public sphere culture is too spectacular. Audiences have short attention spans. They only want flashy visuals and superficial distractions“. (McKee, 2005)

Botta (2003) in her research paper ‘For your Health? The Relationship between Magazine Reading and Adolescents’ specifically investigates the effects of advertising and stereotypical body image on adolescents. She states that scholars have begun to examine the increased emphasis on muscularity for men. The current supposition is that a drive to be muscular may be as dangerous for adolescent boys as a drive to be thin is for adolescent girls (Botta 2003). Sports, health, and fitness magazines may be a meaningful training ground for adolescents to learn the importance of muscularity and the methods to obtain these perfect sports bodies. Such magazines also reinforce the rewards that accompany the attainment of “perfect” bodies (Botta 2003).

Botta analyses the negative effects that health magazines have on adolescents. In her survey nearly 400 high school and college students from an urban area in the Midwest were specifically analysed and tested about the extent to which reading fashion, sports, and health/fitness magazines related directly to their body image and any eating disturbances, including the added dimension of muscularity (Botta 2003). The results from the survey indicated that magazine reading, social comparisons, and critical body image processing are important predictors of body image and eating disturbances for adolescent boys and girls“. (Botta, 2003)

The audience of this research paper is mainly centered on researchers investigating the effect between magazine reading and adolescents. However this research paper was published in 2003, therefore the statistical evident in this paper would be out of date. Botta uses primary sources and secondary sources in her paper. Primary sources include interviews with teenagers in high schools and a survey of 400 high school students. She also draws on her previous work relating to anabolic steroid use among high school boys published in 1999.

After examination of Botta (2003) article this paper is extremely relevant towards body image in adolescents. However when looking outside of the Midwest United States this paper would present some negative aspects as well as being dated.

References:

McKee, A, 2005, ‘Introduction: the public sphere: an introduction’ in Public Sphere: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp1-31

Botta, A, 2003, ‘For Your Health? The Relationship Between Magazine Reading and Adolescents’ Body Image and Eating Disturbances, Sex Roles, Vol 48, pp389-398 http://web.psych.utoronto.ca/psy329/Botta_2003.pdf

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