Effects of Negative Body Images
Scholarly articles have repeatedly shown how the presentation of the "ideal type" or the thin-idealistic type of women's bodies has a detrimental effect on the viewer. Viewing even as little as 30 minutes of programming and advertising with depictions of the ideal-thin type female body causes women to feel insecure and dissatisfied with their own bodies. (McGill, 2004) Other research shows that magazine advertisements have a similar effect, where a woman's self perception of body image may be significantly decreased. A woman's body image is understood to be "elastic" or subject to change for better or worse. (Biocca, 1992) Therefore while ideal-thin body images may produce negative feelings among women, positive images of acceptance of any non-ideal type of body will produce increased self-esteem for women of all types.
Effects of Positive Body Images
Studies attempting to improve women's perception of their bodys have shown that closeness to family and friends will have a positive impact. (Davis, 2002) In other words, having a support group or a group of people around who support and promote a healthy body image versus the ideal-thin type can positively affect a woman's self perception. There are many sources and cites for promoting body acceptance such as the Dove Campaign pictured above. The following site discusses Love Your Body Day, a national campaign to promote positive body image acceptance. The site also details how college students in particular can make a difference for promoting positive body image on campus, under the "On Campus" tab. Ideas for making a positive change for body image on campus include organizing a pannel discussion, creating an art contest, or a fashion show.