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How the Media Influence Perceptions of Obesity

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It is impossible not to mention The Biggest Looser, a truly successful reality television show in the US and Australia. Perhaps, one of the reasons why this show is so popular is the fact that it gives some of its viewers an opportunity to assert themselves. It is always easier to cope with personal problems when there are examples of people whose problems are even worse. The show participants try to lose the most weight and therefore, become the Biggest Loser. At the same time, the main idea of the show is based on an assumption that weight problems are caused by the personal failure, rather than by external circumstances such as environment, genetics, and so on.

In fact, this may be called one of the dominant obesity discourses. ‘ Within obesity discourse, both overweight and obesity are represented as a failure to care for one’ s self while the sin body is given recognition as reflecting control, virtue, and goodness’ , writes (Wright & Harwood, 2009). One may be curious why so many people in Western societies are overweight or obese.

Ordinary people hardly ever start reading serious academic articles in order to find out the true causes. As a rule, they prefer to rely on pieces of evidence the media provides. Therefore, the media is the tool which shapes an individual’ s opinion. Within the discourse mentioned above, overweight and obesity result from self-neglect, while external factors are hardly ever taken into consideration. As a result, overweight and obese people are treated as if they lack self-discipline and volition. Everybody knows the British film Bridget Jones's Diary. Bridget, its main character, is not actually overweight.

In modern society, her weight may be safely called average. At the same time, she looks quite funny, clumsy and indeed overweight when compared with some of the well-shaped people around her. Bridget is often blamed for being unable to take control of herself. She tends to overindulge on food, smoking, and alcohol, which helps her cope with relationship difficulties.

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