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Maria Barron
Professor Bevill
ENLG 1302-06
3 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. Before the mass media and advertisements
started to pick at one’s self-esteem humans were shown that everyone is different and beautiful
just the way that they. Only now, times have changed and children seem to grow and mature
faster than previous generations. The mass media plays a big role in American lives since it is
everywhere; television, radio, schools, and other institutions. We have become accustomed to
advertisements about fashion, beauty products, and products we can not just simply live without.
Photoshopped images seem to have an impact on adolescents and their self-esteem. Adolescents
being exposed to the internet and television the most, seem to have caused confusion and has
distorted their views on body image. While adolescents are still developing, being exposed to
these unrealistic ideals will lead to low self-esteem, and eventually will lead the adolescent to
take extreme measures to look like the 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 selfesteem. 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 to show them how the media alters photos to create unrealistic body
expectations.

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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.
Who is to say that bullying and low self-esteem does not go hand in hand? In a study conducted
by Justin W. Patchin and Sameer Hinduja, “Based on these analyses and 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-esteems is a significant problem that should
be addressed in public schools. Just as if it were an anti-bullying program, awareness and
develop a positive self-worth outcome to young adolescents. Especially in schools were an
adolescent may feel insignificant compared to their peers. 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 ( O’Dea 91). Non-profit organizations that create awareness and are
dedicated to building self-esteem, are a great source of getting the word out. Except the only
down fall is that not many people know about organizations, and many will not go out of their
way to learn about the dangerous of the effects of the media of 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 best way to address the problem is before it becomes aggressive of
the early stages of it. Public school should have a choice for a program that will be beneficial
towards the students in both academic and personal behavior. Offering this anti-low self-esteem

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in middle school, since it is around this time that young adolescents start developing body image
concerns.
Public schools should have the anti-low self-esteem program around the same time
pubertal 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. Body
appearance preferences have not been investigated empirically in Serbia. 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
schools touch on the subject but also the overall population, they should be made aware of

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excessively altered images have a penitential 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 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. Photoshopped ads can promote unrealistic
expectations of the human body, leading to tragic emotional, mental, and physical health
problems. 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
(Cong.Record H3251). This bill is an indication that low self-esteem is an effect of the altered
images and should be addressed. This Bill can potentially promote this anti-low self-esteem
program if pasted. 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 will focus
on a natural beauty and promote a strong sense of self-worth. In a study by, Chiara Roller, she
compared two different approaches aimed at reducing negative outcomes. The first one based on
awareness of the deceptive nature pf 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). Adolescents need to be aware of the media portrayals and criticize
advertisements on their outreach techniques. The anti-low self-esteem will cover all aspects that
can correlate to low self- esteem.

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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 that
I prose will not only 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
Croll, Jillian. “Body Image and Adolescent.” Guidelines for Adolescents Nutrition Services, 2005,
pp.155-166. Accessed. Oct 28 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.