Messages from the Media

This information accompanies the lesson "Beauty is Skin Deep."
Grade Level

This information accompanies the lesson "Beauty is Skin Deep"


  • A study of over 4,000 television commercials revealed that 1 out of every 3 to 4 commercials sends some sort of "attractiveness message," telling viewers what is or is not attractive. The average teenager sees over 5,000 "attractiveness messages" each year.
  • One study found that teens who watch soaps and TV shows that emphasize the ideal body type report a higher sense of body dissatisfaction than other teens. This was also true for girls who watched music videos.
  • Another study found that identification with television stars (for girls and boys), models (for girls) and athletes (for boys), is related to their unhappiness with their bodies.
  • In a study of fifth graders, 10-year-old girls and boys told researchers they were unhappy with their own bodies after watching a music video by Britney Spears or a clip from the TV show,Friends.
  • In one study, 69% of 5th -12th grade girls reported that magazine pictures influenced their image of the ideal body and 47% wanted to lose weight because of those pictures.
  • A psychological study found that three minutes spent looking at models in a fashion magazine caused 70% of women to feel depressed, guilty and shameful. Frequent readers of fashion magazines are 2 to 3 times more likely than infrequent readers to diet and exercise to lose weight.