Body image and global media

Jasmine Fardouly, Vani Kakar, Phillippa C. Diedrichs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Body dissatisfaction can develop from a young age and is prevalent across people of differing body sizes, genders, and cultures around the world. This is concerning because body dissatisfaction is associated with a host of negative outcomes, such as lower academic performance, less life satisfaction, depressive symptoms, and eating pathology. Sociocultural models of body image suggest that media can negatively influence body image by promoting narrow and unattainable beauty ideals, which people may internalize and compare themselves to. A growing body of correlational, experimental, and longitudinal research suggests that viewing idealized and edited images of others in both traditional media (e.g., magazines, television) and on social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram) can increase body image concerns and negative mood among both women and men. In this chapter, we review the existing literature on global media and body image, with a particular focus on social media. We discuss research on the impact of Western media in different cultures. Researchers, government bodies, and the public are becoming increasingly concerned about the negative effects of idealized, homogenous media images on young people. Individual and macro-level interventions have been developed to improve media literacy, and to change traditional and social media's narrow and unrealistic portrayals of beauty. These interventions are reviewed and critiqued. Finally, recommendations are made for researchers, government bodies, businesses, and individuals looking to improve the media landscape to foster positive body image.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of gender and communication
EditorsMarnel Niles Goins, Bryant Keith Alexander, Joan Faber McAlister
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9780429448317
ISBN (Print)9781138329188
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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