Monday, March 29, 2010

Friends?

Ryerson university in Toronto conducted a study on the effects of television characters on body image.  Specifically, the study found that watching just a 10-minute clip of Friends (specifically Jennifer Aniston and Courteney) cox caused women to feel bad about their bodies.  The study's author is quoted as saying, "People have the tendency to make rapid comparisons of themselves to images on television programs even when they don't think they are being affected."

Are there any current shows or stars that you think women with body image concerns should avoid?  Have you noticed yourself having negative body thoughts (in e.d. language, being "triggered") by any of these shows or characters?  Is there a pull to watch them despite their emotional impact?

11 comments:

now.is.now said...

I find myself having negative body thoughts when I watch a few shows ( a couple characters on Grey's Anatomy... one of the wives on Modern Family....for some reason, America's Next Top Model doesn't trigger me because I just put models in a different category haha)... but I never considered it to be the fault of the TV show... I just figured I compare myself to others too much. It's my own issue - not the TV's. But, I enjoy the stories on these shows; watching these programs doesn't "trigger" me so much that the bad outweighs the good that comes from enjoying the shows.

Graciela said...

My idol growing up was Twiggy. While most of my negative body image was a result of having an anorexic mother who constantly criticized my weight, the Twiggy thing played right into that negative body image. No way could I ever be as thin as she was, so that was just another thing on the list of what was wrong with my body. But I don't think that images of Twiggy, alone, would have caused me to have such a negative self image if it hadn't originated with my mother. It's just that, for me, Twiggy was the concrete manifestation of what I thought my mother wanted me to be.

So I think it takes more than just an image of a thin person on TV or in a magazine to cause someone to think badly of her own body. However, I think it can definitely be an additional factor when you are already prone to that negative self image for some reason.

PTC said...

Regis and Kelly. Regis can be kind of triggering. Just kidding. ;)

azusmom said...

I was watching a kids show with, well, my kids today called "iCarly." The main actress is a teeny-tiny little thing, and there was a guest actress who was rail thin. It's triggering for me, because it takes me back to my days as an actress in L.A, when I was trying to look like a 13 year-old girl rather than the 30-something woman I was.
The Hollywood ideal is way too thin. It's unhealthy, and most (not all) of the actresses on TV and in film go to extremes to achieve that look, which they have to do in order to keep working. It's just awful!

Grace said...

The two times I saw it with my roomies last year, Gossip Girl was a problem. Blake Lively.
For a bit, I would obsessively watch an episode I had on my iPod...but then I stopped, probably because it was on the no-no list at residential. And also because it's a ridiculous show.

Stina said...

I second Gossip Girl and also add in the new 90210. The fashion and wieght of the girls on the show are impossible standards to live up to and just seeing previews, my eating disorder creeps right in and points out the differences between me and them. So no more teen shows :)

azusmom said...

I find it REALLY frightening that teen shows feature girls who are so scarily thin!

麗君 said...

你的部落格很棒,我期待更新喔........................................

Susie Hovendick Chan said...

I came here after googling everyone has a disorder.

I'm a little put out by the professionals that they say so many of jour behaviors stem from disorders.

I'm sure I have some, but can so many things be disorders?

gender starch said...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Sex and the City yet. I don't have an eating disorder in the DSM-IV sense, but I do find myself comparing my body to theirs when I watch it. When there is an "eating lunch together" scene it seems half of the girls are drinking water and eating salad.

Jackie T said...

I think the problem is that there are sooo many women who are either on the low side of a normal BMI, or considered underweight by the BMI scale. Some people are naturally like this. I have a friend who eats EVERYTHING in sight, but she also exercises a lot (outdoors activities she enjoys like surfing and rock climbing, not the unhealthy, overexercising to work off calories) and she is and always has been underweight. However, most people I know are on the higher side of the BMI scale, or overweight/obese.
I think if tv was focused on fixing issues with eating disorders, having a reality-based healthy representation of women's bodies and all the differences would be the way to go. I know another person put Grey's Anatomy, but I'm actually pretty impressed by the women they choose. Yes, the Grey sisters and Yang are skinnier, but they also show other sides of it. Izzy, Bailey, Callie and Arizona all, in my mind, represent better representations of female actor's bodies that are under-utilized.