Image Control

  In today’s world, we are surrounded by images and products that are advertised to aid or form us in some way. Often, these images can negatively affect us, especially if they portray how an ideal person should look. These images can influence a developing mind down the wrong path, a path that focuses only on looks rather than actual body health. This and many other contributors are what lead young people to develop eating disorders, ways that they think will make themselves look better and more acceptable in terms of what the media shows. However, these disorders have very damaging effects on the physical, emotional and mental health of these young people.
  In order to attend to the media’s negative influence, the Israeli government has pursued an initiative to monitor what the media shows. To do so, the government has issued a ban on skinny models, disallowing those under a BMI of 18.5, or those that appear “underweight,” to be used as catwalk models and/or in advertising. In addition, if in their advertising, a photograph of a model is altered to make the individual appear thinner, the particular media outlet must state that it was done. These efforts were put into place in the hopes of reducing the amounts of disordered eating that occur in the general population.
  I think this is a fantastic measure because I believe the media should be regulated when it reaches such a large population and has the potential to influence the youth in such a negative way. Though some may see this as the government overstepping their power, I think this is necessary control in this time where body image portrayals can have a large impact on sensitive and developing minds. The idea of a more “normal-looking” person in the media is something that should be championed and followed, because it shows how the media can be used to spread good ideas rather than negative influences.
  Though this idea may not be as well received in the US due to the population’s generally disapproving view of governmental control, I think the notion of focusing on more realistic looking people in the media is valid. I believe what would be more effective in this country is if we focus on programs that teach young people to detach themselves from the media, and watch TV, movies or Internet media solely for their entertainment value, rather than as a source of wisdom or information. It is not so much how the media portrays how people look, than it is how viewers interpret these portrayals, and this is an issue that needs to be addressed at a young age to have the most beneficial effect.

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