Youth ages 8-18 years old spend 7.5 hours every day consuming media: watching TV, visiting social media sites, perusing the Internet, playing video games and listening to music. Media influences our attitudes and beliefs about what we can and cannot, or should and should not, aspire to be in life.

Impact on girls:

If you have been exposed to mainstream media then it is not surprising to learn that girls and women are unrealistically depicted: Women are drastically photoshopped, surgically enhanced, portrayed thinner and thinner, ethnically homogenous, and are rarely over the age of 40 years old. Women are valued primarily for their physicality and sexuality.

Impact on boys:

Over the last decade there has been an increased focus to understand boy’s body image as boys are reporting increased concerns over what it means to look and act like a male. In media, men are increasingly sexually objectified, depicted with unrealistic muscular body types, and portrayed as powerful characters with little capability or interest in emotional or relational issues.

Bottom line:

Both girls and boys grow up seeing limiting portrayals of what femininity and masculinity encompasses. The unrealistic depictions we see in media are the norm in our Western culture and we are being negatively affected mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.