The issues regarding Body Image have constantly been a predominant aspect within the media, being both in detrimental ways that has become a factor of causing eating disorders as well as the media conveying body image in a positive way that has perpetuated the idea of healthy living. Over the past 12 weeks of being enrolled in BCM110, I have been researching and evaluating a variety of media platforms that have conveyed the issues that relate to Body Image and this has significantly helped me to better understand the media principles and aspects discussed in the BCM110 course.
The internet has become a public sphere where people have been able to voice their opinions and Habermas (1991) commented on this saying that the public sphere “may be conceived above all as the sphere of private people coming together as a public.” This media principle of the public sphere has been relevant whilst researching Body Image, as the internet has become a place where the public is able to converse and voice their opinions about the issue, conveying the concept of the public sphere.
The public sphere of the internet has allowed users to become prosumers, being that they are not only consumers of the media, but they have now become producers, continually producing and voicing out their own opinions, which has made a significant influence on the issue of Body Image. Whilst researching this issue on the internet, I have found a lot of information and statements that are reporting on Body Image in a way that would be detrimental to its audience, being with the example of Ninemsn and the way that it portrayed singer/actress Rihanna in which you can read here. In evaluating this article in particular as well as a multiple of other internet articles in which relate to body image, I have concluded that because of the use of hot buttons that have motivated people in reading the article, a result has been that it can have a serious impact on a person’s mental health, and depending on a person’s emotional state, it can lead to eating disorders.
Since the 90s, eating disorders have been commonly reported on within all aspects of the media. During these 12 weeks of evaluating and following the different ways that the media has conveyed the issue of body image, especially relating to eating disorders, it was not surprising that I found many campaigns and articles that seemed positive to its viewer. These positive articles and campaign such as The Butterfly Foundation hosting a “Ladies Long Lunch” found in the Blacktown Sun Herald, which promoted having a better self esteem, was an example of this and I found that this would have extremely beneficial effects on individual members of the audience.
The media principle of the individual was another important aspect of the BCM110 course and whilst evaluating the issue of Body Image in the media, it resulted in a clearer understanding of the concept of the individual. The individual has an important role to play in the media’s perpetuation of healthy living, as they control how a certain article or campaign is taken and whether or not it is beneficial to the overall society. The individual’s role is also increasing because of the availability of new technologies that have promoted the concept of prosumerism, as well as the phenomenon of citizen journalism.
An organisation that has emerged as a result of citizen journalism is ‘Pro-ana,’ which is a group of individuals that are ‘for anorexia.’ The internet is a common platform where this organisation mostly confides with the use of images and statements which they call ‘thinspo’ or ‘thinspiration.’ The media has reported on this issue a multiple of times, and in a multiple of ways through television reports, news articles and also in magazines, but this organisation continues to thrive despite the negativity that surrounds it because of the media. This issue can be found on my blog post here.
The issue of Body Image, regarding Pro-ana has caused a stir in society because of the way that the audience thinks that it is a moral panic. The concept of moral panic was learnt about in BCM110 and is a media generated movement that sees something as being a threat to society, and in this case, relating to Body Image the moral panic was about the organisation being ‘pro-ana.’
Overall, in producing these eight blog posts over the course of the BCM110 subject, I have been able to significantly expand my knowledge about the media as well as the society which I live. I have been able to learn more about the media’s role in perpetuating an issue in society, as well as the benefits and detrimental impacts that it can have. A significant part of my learning during the BCM110 course was to be able to critically discern media not only in relation to body image, but in a range of circumstances. In conclusion, the BCM110 subject has been very beneficial to my learning outcomes, and it will significantly help in future references.