How the Media Influences Young Girls and Their Standards of Beauty

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In contemporary society, entertainment, pop culture and the media have a significant influence on young children, particularly girls. For instance, some media platforms such as Facebook features models promoting consumption of cosmetics aimed at making girls prettier and happier. Besides, the media creates a notion of self- fulfillment whose attainment is through imitating celebrities. More so, young girls are in a constant pressure to reach unattainable beauty standards where the media wrongly defines the ideal looks of young girls (Girls Empowerment Network 1). The female celebrities clear the flaws on their bodies through strategies such as editing and photoshopping their looks to attain a perfect appearance such as having larger breasts and thinner waists.   However, as the young girls try to imitate their models, the eventual consequences are only dissatisfaction and disillusionment. The enigmatic nature of media restricts parental guidance and addicts young girls, thus subjecting them to unattainable beauty standards which cause adverse influences such as eating disorders and plastic surgery. 

How the Media Influences Young Girls

Media limits parental guidance

According to Stone (1), the children in the current generation are subject to constant pressure from various media platforms such as Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which distracts them from their social responsibilities. For illustration, the majority of young girls feels distracted from school and instead, spends most of their time on social media sites. Consequently, the media mars teachers' efforts in offering adequate counsel to girl students, where the media captures their interest and concentration.  By the time young girls enter high school, they spend at least six hours on media platforms, checking their multiple accounts and apps, more than ten times daily (Stone 1). Moreover, young girls at the current times learn to establish and navigate relationships through social media sites in ways which are enigmatic to the parents (Stone 1s). Consequently, the parents lack adequate support and tools to teach and counsel the young girls effectively. Thus, the new and secretive media landscape blurs any efforts by parents and teachers to equip the girl child with the necessary skills to manage their pressures and challenges.

Time Consumption and Media Influences on Young Girls

According to a study by scholars from the University of Essex, media adversely affects the girls more than the boys because they spend more time on media sites (Walton 1). According to the study, 10% of girls at the age of 10 years use social media platforms more than boys, whose rate is 7% (Walton 1). At the age of 15 years, the disparity of media use between girls and boys widen at a rate of 43% and 31% respectively (Walton 1). Although media use is not entirely negative, excessive use and addiction are known to have adverse effects, thus the negative influences on young girls. Also, the intensity of media use links to low self-esteem. For illustration, the girls' usage of media is directly proportional to its adverse influences on them such as the eventual low self-esteem (Girls Empowerment Network 1).

Adverse Effects of Media Beauty Standards on Young Girls

Eating Disorders

Media has a high propensity of causing body shape dissatisfaction, hence the ultimate eating disorders among young girls. For illustration, media exposes unhealthy messages on ideal body shape. Consequently, in pursuit of model body size such as that of a celebrity, media ensnares young girls into restrictive eating, purging and bingeing (Girls Empowerment Network 1). Such an unhealthy message is on the need to have a flat stomach or a thigh gap. The low self-esteem that the media instills on young girls makes them restrict their food consumption to attain the perceived ideal body size and shape. Besides, media creates a notion among the girls that skinny bodies are in fashion. Subsequently, young girls practice needless fasting through skipping meals. The media conveys such illusions through platforms such as movies, televisions and, social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

            The biggest challenge with media is its lack of diversity and that it only idealizes thin and tall body sizes (Girls Empowerment Network 2). Most of the girls extract the notion that being thin is the standard of beauty from media platforms such as movies, advertisements and television shows. Although some girls admire curvier body sizes such as that of Serena and Beyoncé, they are in constant pressure of entering the mainstream fashion of remaining thin (Girls Empowerment Network 2). According to a 2010 research done by Girl Scout of America, out of at least 1,000 young participants who were girls, 88% of them expressed the pressure from the media to maintain slim body sizes. Besides, celebrities from social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook had caused the notion to escalate into unattainable beauty standards which alter the eating habits of girls (Girls Empowerment Center 1)

Plastic Surgery

According to Martinson (1), the media raises the standards of beauty for young girls, thus making them opt for plastic surgeries. For instance, on a study conducted in 2012,  40% of the UK young ladies considered plastic surgery due to media influence (Martinson 1). Nevertheless, the preference for plastic surgery among young girls has been increasing as evidenced by the PIP breast implants scandal in 2012 (Martinson 1). Media exerts pressure among young girls to resemble their celebrities, thus the current normalization of plastic surgery to attain perfect body. Correspondingly, Ashikali and Eleni-Marina claim that the media assumes a significant role in under-representing the hazards as well as normalizing plastic surgery for young women (112). The media also makes the young girls to seek surgery enhancements similar to their media stars. Hence, it is evident that plastic surgery is increasingly becoming the short-term solution to the perceived beauty standards among young girls, who are fueled by low self-esteem to imitate their media celebrities.


The contemporary world subjects young girls to media, entertainment and pop culture which significantly influences them. For instance, due to the enigmatic nature of social media to the caregivers, girls receive little parental guidance as they explore social media platforms. The media also affects the girls by addicting them, instilling low self-esteem on them, thus making them to pursue the beauty standards which are just illusions. The unattainable beauty standards lead to eating disorders among young girls as they seek for perfect body size and shape such as; having slim bodies, thigh gap and flat stomachs. The media motivates the young girls to attain the ideal bodies through plastic surgeries relative to their celebrities’ enhancements. Also, the media under-represents the risks associated with plastic surgery, thus making the young girls perceive the practice as a solution to the perceived beauty standards.


Works Cited

Ashikali, Eleni-Marina, Helga Dittmar, and Susan Ayers. "Adolescent girls’ views on cosmetic surgery: A focus group study." Journal of health psychology 21.1 (2016): 112-121.

Girls Empowerment Network. "Media Today: Unattainable Beauty Standards." 26 July 2016. Retrieved from:

Martinson, Jane. "Cosmetic Surgery and Teenagers? A Disaster Waiting to Happen." The Guardian, 25 Nov. 2017,

Stone, C. "We Need To Talk About What Social Media Is Doing To Young Girls." Scary Mommy, 6 Oct. 2017.

Walton, A. G. "Social Media May Be More Harmful To Girls than Boys, Study Finds." Spindle, 20 Mar. 2018.

August 21, 2023




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