NOVA

Dying to be Thin

Student Handout

Body Images

Do the images you see in magazines reflect the people you see in real life? Conduct a scientific survey and see what the images reveal.

Procedure

  1. Choose a magazine that you either read on a regular basis or might like to read.

  2. Make four charts like the ones below on separate pages. Mark a line in each appropriate box to represent each person's body type on the magazine page. Make a chart for any additional data you would like to collect.

  3. Collect data from the magazine you have chosen.

  4. Count the marks for each of your body types and make a bar graph and a pie graph for each one of your data charts.

  5. Combine your data with those from other groups. Once this is done, your teacher will create a final pie graph and bar graph to represent everyone's data.

Name of Magazine:                                                 

Date of Issue:                                                           

Male Models

Page #

Number of
Male Models

Models were:

Large

Average

Thin


















Female Models

Page #

Number of
Female Models

Models were:

Large

Average

Thin


















Articles About Weight or Diet Issues

Page #

Article
Title

Articles were about:

Diet

Exercise

Self-
Esteem

Fashion





















Ads For Related Products

Page #

Product Advertised

Product was for:

Reducing
Weight

Increasing
Weight

Food

Exercise




















Questions
Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.

  1. Write a paragraph or two describing your magazine's message to its readers about the normal or acceptable male or female body. Does this view match what you see as normal body types in the general population? Explain.

  2. Examine the results of your review of the articles. Do the articles give the same message about acceptable body types as the pictures? Is this message generally positive or negative about average body types? Explain. What was the ratio of advertisements to articles?

  3. Do the advertisements in the magazine support the ideas expressed by the pictures? What specific kinds of body-related products are advertised? Were healthy foods advertised? Did the models in the advertisements give direct support to the product, or did they seem to be secondary?

  4. Analyze the final class bar graph and pie graph. What patterns do you see? How did the final graphs compare to the ones you made in your group?



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