The Impact of Pop Culture on Body Image Among Students

body dysmorphia

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With the rise of technology nowadays, pop culture is all around us all the time. Every day, the minds of young people and college students are flooded with images from magazines and commercials, as well as new music, videos, and movies from the hottest celebrities.

Pop culture is even involved in education with movies, news, and advertising. So, it is almost impossible not to influence the way how people see themselves. As you read through some body image essay examples, you may be surprised to find out how big the influence of pop culture can actually be on a person’s body image. And while many people link pop culture with poor body image in their essays, the sad part is that there are people that accept it.

While researching this topic, we came across various essays and paper samples in which young people are completely drawn into it and support the unrealistic beauty standards and do their best to achieve them. This just shows how much culture affects body image.

Pop culture changes body image in a negative way like nothing ever did before. It changes the way people see themselves, the way they behave, and it lowers their self-esteem. And if this continues to happen, future generations will grow to have much worse perceptions of themselves.

What is Body Image and What Influences It?

impact of pop culture on body image

Body image represents the attitude and knowledge towards your body. It includes the mental picture of how you see yourself when you look in the mirror, how you think others see you, and how you feel when you look at yourself. What kind of body image a person has can be influenced by many factors such as family environment, attitudes of friends, and culture. However, the biggest influence on a person’s body image in this modern technology comes from pop culture.

A person with a healthy body image will accept the way they look and won’t try to change their bodies. They will value what they look like and see the qualities and strengths in their body beyond the shape, weight, or look. They will resist the pressure to have a perfect body. And most importantly, they will feel comfortable and confident in their own body and will never judge others based on their body image.

On the other hand, a person who has a negative body image looks determine them as a person. They constantly have negative thoughts and compare themselves to others. They have distorted ideas of their bodies and even see parts of the body unlike they really are. And the saddest part about it is that they feel ashamed, anxious, awkward, and uncomfortable in their own body.

How Does Pop Culture Affect Body Image Among Students?

what is body image

With images of pop culture figures everywhere, celebrities’ perfect faces and bodies are constantly seen, and the inflows of those images are the ones that change the perceptions of our bodies. For example, magazines such as Vogue or Glamour are filled with images from thin, attractive, and muscular models. This gives people the idea that you have to be skinny, buff, and tall to be beautiful.

Not to mention that the popular actress Jennifer Lawrence was called plus-size when modeling, but she is skinny compared to an average woman. So, if she is called plus size, can you imagine how the ones that are bigger than her feel? An average American sees up to 500 advertisements each day, and in all of those ads, the people are extremely edited and look nothing like an ordinary person looks.

In movies, the actors and actresses are stereotypically beautiful. Even teenagers in movies are represented as supermodels, which is impossible for anyone in real life. This representation gives the wrong body image in American culture because people from a young age believe that everyone must look the same and conform to a typical beauty standard.

Since they are surrounded by celebrities that they look nothing like their whole life, their thoughts about the topic change for the worse. They start to see themselves as unattractive because they are constantly comparing themselves to those images. All in all, with pop culture all around us, self-perception becomes more negative.


Pop culture is rapidly growing and creating worse body image ideas for young people every day. And since technology is permanent nowadays, pop culture will only keep growing. We just hope that it will change for the better and become more relatable and realistic. Since culture and body image are closely related if pop culture changes for the positive, so will the whole society.