Saturday, April 12, 2014

A College Speech: How the Media Affects Body Image

This is a little different from my "A College Essay" posts because I am posting an assignment from my Public Speaking class. I am including my speech outline as well as my powerpoint from my presentation, but not a recording from my actual speech. I wanted to share this on my blog because it is a topic that I am very passionate about. 

                      Persuasive Speech: Media Influence on Body Image from awhisperedwish

The Media and Body Image Outline

  1. Introduction
  • “Fat and Unwanted”; “Short”; “Hideous”; “I wish I looked like that”; “Meaty”; 'Powerless”; “I'm too skinny.”
    • These are all words that people in this room used to describe themselves in relation to the models we see in magazines and ads.
  • But is it logical to base your feeling of self-worth and image on these “models”?
  • We derive the term “role models” from “models” because they are people to look up to in terms of their ethics, generosity, and kindness.
  • But are the models in magazines and ads really people to look up to in terms of body image?
  • The answer to both of these questions is “NO.”
  1. Here are some more statistics from the audience analysis survey
  • 78% said they have experienced personal body image issues at some point in their lives.
  • 64% said they don't feel like they can relate physically to models of their gender in magazines or ads.
  1. Here are some examples of photoshop editing used in magazines and ads.
  • Cameron Diaz for The Telegraph (as featured in a Huffington Post article.)
    • In the photo on the right:
      • Her cheeks are fuller.
      • Her thighs are wider.
      • Her stomach is more full.
      • Her hip bones are no longer pronounced.
      • Her bust is more leveled.
      • Her arms and shoulders are given more bulk.
  • Brittany Murphy (10STEPS.SG)
    • In the photo on the right:
      • The entire photo is brightened.
      • Her hair is more blonde.
      • Her skin tone is more even.
      • The bags and dark circles under her eyes are gone.
      • The lines around her mouth are gone.
      • Her lips are more rosy.
      • Her eyelashes are longer and darker.
  • Penelope Cruz (10STEPS.SG)
    • In the photo on the right:
      • Her hair is more full and tame.
      • Her bust is larger.
      • Her ribcage is thinned on her sides.
      • Her hips are made larger.
      • The bones in her chest are smoothed away.
  1. It isn't just the women in the media who are photoshopped to so-called “perfection.”
  • Thom Yorke (Radiohead) (10Steps.SG)
    • In the photo on the right:
    • His ears are trimmed.
    • His nose is straightened.
    • His jawline is more full.
    • His right eye is made more symmetrical.
    • His lips are made more symmetrical.
  • Unnamed male fitness model (10STEPS.SG)
    • In the photo on the right:
  • His skin is drastically darkened and contrast added to make him appear more muscular than he is in reality.
  • His waist is photoshopped thinner.
    • These kinds of edits are leading to rapidly increasing cases of male anorexia and other eating disorders, as well as the use of harmful steroids to “bulk up.” (Bahadur)
  1. What can we do about these unfair and unrealistic standards?
  • Search for or start a petition against the use of drastic photo editing in ads.
    • Even if for one company at a time, any change could make a huge difference.
    • Websites like are great for starting petitions and getting the word out!
  • Support companies who openly enforce positive body image.
    • AERIE, a women's fashion branch of American Eagle, has launched a campaign called AerieREAL, in which all of their models are unretouched. (Aerie for Amerian Eagle)
    • Dove has an ongoing campaign called Dove Real Beauty in which they create Youtube videos to help promote the diversity of beauty. (Dove Real Beauty.)
  • Introduce your children and yourself to body-positive sources of entertainment.
    • Tavi Gevinson's online magazine ROOKIEMAG is a great resource to help young girls feel comfortable with who they are and to help them feel comfortable in their own skin. (Rookie)
    • Photographers think diversity is beautiful.
      • Nir Arieli's “Inframen” is a collection of photographs of male dancers in which the use of Infrared film brings out the scars and bruises obtained over a lifetime of hard work and dedication to their art that are normally invisible to the naked eye. (Frank)
      • Leland BobbĂ© has a collection of photographs of people he finds “Quintessentially American.”
        • The collection enforces the diversity of America and the beauty of it's people because of that diversity. (Brooks)
  1. Realize that nobody has a “perfect body.”
  • As you have seen in this presentation, even the modern icons of beauty don't have “perfect” bodies. Not without the help of technology, anyway.
  • Don't obsess over the fact that your waist isn't a certain size or you don't have a certain body type.
    • Eat, drink, and wear what makes you happy, NOT what the ads tell you to.
  • Don't feel obligated to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks just because the bold print on magazines are telling you that they know how.
  1. You have seen the unfair ways that the media affects our view of ourselves through the use of programs like photoshop in their ads and magazines. It is an unfortunate cultural norm that unfortunately results in self-harm, eating disorders, and self-abuse. I have given you multiple ways to combat these standards, because the change starts with you. Learn to appreciate your own unique beauty, and pass that appreciation along to your families and children. Spread the word about companies and artists who appreciate natural and diverse beauty.
  • I'd like to end with a line from a song called “5 Bottles of Shampoo” by The King Blues:
    • Too fat, too thin that's just media spin/ You look best when you're comfortable in your own skin.”
Works Cited
  • "40 Amazing Before and After Photo Retouching Photos | 10Steps.SG." 10StepsSG. N.p., 2010. Web. 07 Apr.
  • "#aerieREAL." Aerie for American Eagle. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014. <>.
  • Bahadur, Nina. "Male Eating Disorders Are One 'Men's Issue' We Don't Discuss Enough (VIDEO)." The Huffington Post., 22 July 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2014. <>.
  • Brooks, Katherine. "Photographer Travels The Country Documenting 'Quintessential Americans'" The Huffington Post., 03 Jan. 2014. Web. 08 Apr. 2014. <>.
  • Frank, Priscilla. "10 Stunning Black-And-White Photos That Challenge Norms Of Masculinity." The Huffington Post., 07 Jan. 2014. Web. 08 Apr. 2014. <>.
  • Rookie. Rookie, n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014. <>.
  • "The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty." The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014. <>.
  • Wade, Lisa. "You'd Be Shocked at What These Fashion Editors Are Editing Out of Their Photos." The Huffington Post., 06 Jan. 2014. Web. 07 Apr. 2014. <>.

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