Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Self Image Show
These mannequins may be super-thin, but you're a lot more interesting. Plus, you have a head.
Description | Transcript | Raw Footage
Letter To The Media | Read All About It
Order Videotape
Self Image: The Fantasy, The Reality

What is "the perfect body," and why does everyone want it? In the Mix digs deep into the American obsession with body image, which is driving teens to diet, use steroids, develop dangerous eating disorders and create a lifelong cycle of low self-esteem. [Current stats on the issue] "Self Image: The Fantasy, The Reality" gets behind the images we see on television and in films, magazines, and billboards, and aims to help you understand what's real and what's not.

In the Mix host Andrea sits down with former YM magazine editor Lesley Seymour, who explains changing model trends and points out why 'thin is in' among fashion designers who only want 'hangers' for their clothes. She also urges teens to speak up to advertisers and get them to reconsider the images they present. Katie Ford, head of Ford Models, emphasizes that a model is thin because she was born that way no amount of dieting or exercising will change a woman's natural shape.

"We're starving ourselves to fit into their clothes," says Danielle, one of four young women who share their experiences with life-threatening bulimia and anorexia. They offer other teens advice on how to reach out for help or confront a friend in trouble.
[Get and give advice]

Viewers will also hear from young men who are so obsessed with matching the media's image of "diesel" male bodies, they use steroids. One former user recounts his journey into and out of steroid use, and how his mental and physical health suffered. A doctor elaborates on other physical and mental dangers, then offers guidelines for a drug-free yet effective exercise program. [Cast your vote about dieting]

Finally, "Self-Image: The Fantasy, The Reality" gets eight friends to sit down, share some pizza, and let the feelings fly. Guys agree that they care more about a girl's personality than how much she weighs, while girls vent their frustration with the media's effect on how they feel about themselves. [What's your take on the whole thing?] The message comes through loud and clear: everyone feels the pressure to look a certain way, but it's better to concentrate on your own personal style, both inside and out. [Great resources] [Get help 24/7]

"Self-Image: The Fantasy, The Reality" is regularly re-broadcast on PBS affiliates across the country. Please check our schedule and station list for airtimes.

Related In the Mix episodes: