Abstract - Cassandra McGahan

This research paper focuses on the question of asking whether product advertising on TV, in magazines, on billboards, and on the internet geared towards young women aged bewteen 13 and 35, affects their self image negatively due to the beauty and perfection portrayed by the models in those ads. For years now, the use of perfectly thin and beautifully airbrushed models in product advertisements directed towards young women has caused concern for many about how this unattainable image projected towards young women affects how they feel about their own image. The loss of self esteem and the development of eating disorders are serious issues that have been connected to the media’s unattainable image projected towards young women who try to attain the same look as the models in the advertisements.

In this project, a total of 56 women from the ages of 13 to 35 were surveyed. They were from various places in New York State and constitute a small sample that can help gain insights into how many young women feel about skinny models and airbrushing used in advertisements. The ten question survey, which was based on previous research that is discussed in the literature review, yielded results agreeing with many previous studies in that the use of skinny models in advertising does have an adverse affect on young women and their body image. Overall, from the results in this paper, it can be concluded that many women do feel that models in advertisements have a negative effect on young women’s self image, although many women prefer ads with skinny models.

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