Rock clips shaping young girls’ body image

Age (Australia) June 1, 2007
First the finger was pointed at those skinny women on fashion pages, billboards and catwalks. Now research shows that music videos are harming adolescent girls’ self-esteem. A British study has found that watching music videos featuring thin, scantily clad women for 10 minutes is enough to reduce girls’ satisfaction with their body shape by 10 per cent. The findings have raised concerns about the degree of damage as young people’s exposure to pop videos continues to grow.A 1998 survey found that 12 to 19-year-olds watched music shows for an average 6.4 hours a week. But Sussex University psychologist Helga Dittmar, who led the latest study, said adolescents were likely to spend far more time watching music videos than the survey suggested. “Public places such as stores, bars and clubs increasingly display music videos on large TV screens, making them an inescapable, almost omnipresent form of media,” she said.Professor Susan Sawyer, director of the Centre for Adolescent Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital, said “unrelenting” exposure to images of seemingly perfect people created such unattainable expectations that “even the most successful person feels that they are wanting”.