Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Rabak-Wagener, Judith

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education


For some time now, society has over-emphasized physical beauty. Body image has taken a toll on many people by labeling what is unattractive and what is not. With the help of the mass media, one may critically evaluate his or her own appearance. Perceived imperfections may arise, and the obsession to correct these flaws can uncontrollably grow. The purpose of this thesis was to analyze body image within our culture and media. Beauty has somewhat evolved over the past few decades, and it is hard to attribute the phenomenon to just one aspect of change. Are “ideal” standards instilled in our brains since childhood? Does the connection of “beautiful” and “ugly” occur while a little girl is playing with her Barbie dolls and a boy with his muscular action figure? These are just a few questions I try to determine within this paper. I also examine what makes us vulnerable to distorted body image. Because not all of the blame can be placed on the media, I researched other factors that may cause it. My research consisted of various journal writings, data collected from previous studies, and my own observations. I decided to choose this topic as a whole, because I feel it is a rising problem in our society. More and more adolescents and adults are becoming at-risk for eating disorders, correctional surgeries, and drug use in relationship to these two. I believe the only way to rectify this problem is to analyze why and how it occurs, and then educate others of the realities linked to unattainable beauty.


25 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

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