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Maria Barron
Professor Bevill
ENLG 1302-06
22 November 2016
Ending Low Self-Esteem
During puberty people experience different changes in the body, and often adolescents
feel unsatisfied with their bodies due to the changes. The mass media and advertisements do not
help this issue and picks at one’s self-esteem, as a business tactic to sell products. The media play
a big role in the United States it is everywhere; television, radio, schools, and other institutions.
Americans have grown accustomed to advertisements about fashion, beauty products, and items
we can not just simply live without. Not only has the media brain washed our consciousness, but
it has also encouraged children to grow and mature faster than pervious generations. Adolescents
that are being exposed to the internet and television the most, has caused confusion and distorted
their views on body image. Photoshopped images seem to have an impact on adolescents and
their self-esteem While adolescents are still developing, being exposed to these unrealistic ideals
of body image will lead to low self-esteem, and eventually will lead the adolescent to take
extreme measures to look like their role models in the mass media or models in advertisements.
Adolescents may cause harm towards their physical well-being, while dieting short or long term
when managing weight. Their mental health will decline due to their low self-esteem. Social
health is also impacted by these ideals, causing anxiety and limiting adolescent in success. The
United States Department of Education needs to enact an anti-low self-esteem program for
adolescents as if it is a bullying problem, the program should be administered around middle

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school during the early development of puberty, and teach adolescents how the media alters
photos to create unrealistic body expectations.
Low self-esteem should be treated the same as if it were a bullying problem. The mass
media and advertisements pick at self-esteem, just as if a bully would pick at a victims insecurity.
Bullying and low self-esteem go hand in hand. In a study conducted by Justin W. Patchin and
Sameer Hinduja states, “Based on these analyses and they consistent with expectations,
cyberbullying was found to be correlated with lower self-esteem” (619). “These results were also
significant because during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s educators began to recognize that
lower self-esteem was one of the major predictors of many adolescent problems that directly and
indirectly affected school health by impacting the overall academic and behavioral performance
of students” (619). Low self-esteem is a significant problem that should be addressed in public
schools. Just as if it were an anti-bullying program, by creating awareness and helping develop a
positive self-worth outcome to young adolescents. Especially in schools were an adolescent may
feel insignificant compared to their peers. Jennifer O’Dea who is a Professor of Education and
Social work in Sydney, Australia says, “Development of a positive self- image and strong sense
of self-worth is likely to help adolescents becomes more satisfied with their body shape and
more resistant to the unrealistic body image ideals portrayed by the media, and by urging whole
communities to be involved in fostering overall health within schools and community
environments” (91). Non-profit organizations create awareness and are dedicated to building
self-esteem, are a great source of informing the public. Unfortunately, not many people know of
the organizations, and many will not go out of their way to learn about the dangerous effects of
the media towards young adolescents. Treating the problem as if it were a bullying problem in
schools, can actually help create a stigma over all factors that correlate to the negative effects of

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the mass media and advertisements, and best way to address the problem is before it becomes a
problem or at early stages of development in self-esteem. Offering this anti-low self-esteem
program in middle school, since it is around this time young adolescents start developing body
image concerns, will be beneficial towards the students both academic and personal behavior.
Public schools should have the anti-low self-esteem program around the same time
puberty education is taught since body image concerns is accompanied with puberty. The
changes a young adolescent will have during this stage of development play a significant role
with self-esteem and body image. In a study conducted by Irena Stojkovic compares adolescents
in Western ideals and Serbia, during pubertal timing and self-esteem in adolescents. Adolescents
in this country are exposed to a large extent to western media, which promote ideal of thinness
for women. However, we assume that pressure of beauty industry to pursue this ideal might be
less strong in Serbia than in more affluent countries of North America and Western Europe.
Consequently, adolescent girls in Serbia might be protected, from developing a negative body
image due to weight gain in puberty (372). Not only would the anti-low self-esteem program
teach adolescents the dangerous of media exposure but also be taught media literacy. Teaching
adolescents the media tricks and techniques that it uses against body image and self-esteem.
“Youth also need to be aware of power of the media and learn how to view media with a critical
eye. Media literacy skills can be taught to young children and continue to help youth make their
way through the life-long sea of media they will encounter. Once young people learn about overt
media tactics, they are empowered and can experience media in a different way” (Croll 164).
Teaching adolescents the principles that everyone is beautiful just the way they are, and the true
intentions of the mass media and advertisements. Can greatly help the young adolescents overall
self-worth that can ultimately help them academically and socially. It is not enough for just

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schools to touch on the subject but also the overall population, people should be made aware of
excessively altered images have a potential harm in low self-esteem amongst young adolescents
as well.
Photo altered images have an impact on adolescents whether it is advertisements or social
viewing. The anti-low self-esteem program will address these issues and create awareness on
excessive photoshopping. There is in fact, a bill that was addressed to the House of
Representatives by Ms. Ros-Lehtinen called “The Truth in Advertising Act,” that could help
reduce the negative health impact of Photoshopped images in advertising. “This bill does not
impose new regulations, but simply asks Federal Trade Commission to confront this important
public health issue while ensuring that freedom of speech is protected” (House Rept. H3251).
This proposal is an indication that low self-esteem is a result of the altered images and should be
addressed. This bill can potentially promote an anti-low self-esteem program if passed. It is an
important step that should be taken to overcome negative body image and low self-esteem.
Instead of promoting unrealistic ideals, the anti-low self-esteem program will focus on natural
beauty and promote a strong sense of self-worth. In a study by, Chiara Roller, who compared two
different approaches aimed at reducing negative outcomes. “The first one based on awareness of
the deceptive nature of media techniques, and the second based on the use of “real” women as
models. According to the first perspective, based on media literacy approach, when individuals
became aware of the artificial and deceptive nature of media techniques, their level of
internalization of beauty standards is reduced. The other is based on social comparison
approach” (200). If young adolescents are aware that altered images in the media and advertising
are unreal, they will be able to stand against unnatural beauty and be accepting towards a more

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normal body image. Adolescents need to be aware of the media portrayals and criticize
advertisements on their outreach techniques.
The problem with mass media and photo altered models in advertisements is that
adolescents are consistently exposed to unrealistic ideals about body image. Causing adolescents
low self-esteem and potentially endangering their health. The anti-low self-esteem program must
be taken into consideration and treated, as if it was a national bullying problem. There are steps
that have been put forward in ending low self-esteem because of the media, such as the “Truth in
Advertising Act,” signs that it should be addressed and be dealt with. Not only will this program
create awareness of different factors that play into low self-esteem but also teach young
adolescents the media and advertisement techniques in order to be critical thinkers.

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Works Cited
O'Dea, Jennifer. "The New Self-Esteem Approach for The Prevention of Body Image and Eating
Problems in Children and Adolescents." Healthy Weight Journal 16.6 (2002): 89.Academic
Search Complete. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
Patchin, Justin W, and Sameer Hinduja. “Cyberbullying and Self-Esteem.” The Journal of School
Health 80.12 (2010): 614-621. MEDLINE. Web. 9 Nov. 2016
Stojković, Irena. “Pubertal Timing and Self-Esteem in Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Body-Image
and Social Relations.” European Journal of Developmental Psychology10.3 (2013):359-377.
Academic Search Complete. Web.9 Nov.2016
Jillian, Croll. "Body Image and Adolescent." Guidelines for Adolescents Nutrition Services (2005): 15566. Texshare. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.
Representative Ros-Lehtinen (FL). “Truth in Advertising Act.” Congressional Record 160: 62 (April 29,
2014) p. H3251 Available from Congress.Gov; Accessed Nov 4 2016.