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The Dark Side of Media and Technology

A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy

Edited By Edward Downs

The Dark Side of Media and Technology: A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy is Herculean in its effort to survey for landmines in a rapidly changing media landscape. The book identifies four dark outcomes related to media and technology use in the 21st century, and balances the dark side with four points of light that are the keys to taking ownership of a media- and technology-saturated world. The text contains an impressive list of multi-disciplinary experts and cutting-edge researchers who approach 25 separate dark side issues with concise, highly readable chapters, replete with unique recommendations for navigating our mediated present and future.

The Dark Side of Media and Technology is grounded in theory and current research, but possesses an appeal similar to a page-turning dystopian novel; as a result, this volume should be of interest to scholars, students, and curious lay-readers alike. It should be the "go-to" text for anyone who is interested in learning what the research says about how we use media and technology, as well as how media and technology use us.

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Chapter Eight: The Dark-Side Gateway of Self-Objectification: Examining the Media’s Role in the Development of Body Dissatisfaction and Eating Disorders (Jennifer Stevens Aubrey / Lindsay Roberts)


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The Dark-Side Gateway of Self-Objectification

Examining the Media’s Role in the Development of Body Dissatisfaction and Eating Disorders


The Kardashian sisters (Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kylie Jenner, and Kendall Jenner) are among the most popular social media “influencers” today (“Top 10 Highest Paid Celebrities on Instagram,” 2017). With their ubiquitous presence on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter, combined with their E! television empire, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, their impact on fashion, bodies, and beauty in the 21st century is undeniable. In the Kardashian world, an obsessive focus on one’s appearance, and importantly, an obsessive focus on how one looks to other people, are normalized in their everyday lived experience. Some critics argue that this promotion of seemingly relentless self-scrutiny—heaps “pressure on young women and girls to maintain a picture-perfect, Instagram-worthy image around the clock” (McGrath, 2016, para 7). It is likely that young people who idolize and attempt to emulate the Kardashian lifestyle are prone to internalizing a view of the self in which priority is given to how they look to others over all other things (accomplishments, character, values). This tendency, called self-objectification, has been shown to lead to a host of detrimental outcomes, such as anxiety, shame, depression, sexual dysfunction, and eating disorders (see Moradi & Huang, 2008, for review).

This chapter will review evidence of the media’s influence on bodies and appearance. Guided...

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