The Stigmatizing Effect of Visual Media Portrayals of Obese Persons on Public Attitudes: Does Race or Gender Matter? AN Examination of this Article

In this article the issue of obesity is being discussed in relation to gender and ethnicity. In a survey people were shown images of obese news reporters who were Caucasian or African American. The reactions to the obese Caucasian reporters was very sympathetic but the reaction to the obese African American was not sympathetic, rather these reporters were disliked and negative emotions were provoked. Between men and women there was no difference for how they were viewed, their ratings were very similar.

The stigma towards obesity can be noticed in this case study.People who suffer from obesity face discrimination and inequalities because of their weight in health care, employment and education.This discrimination effects the obese physical, socially, emotionally and psychologically. The media is also one of the leading causes to this form of discrimination.The media often only focuses on how obesity id a persons personal responsibility and focuses on solutions like exercise but never focuses on the environment or healthcare related reasons someone may be obese or overweight. Plus, images of obese people are typically unflattering which further influences the public's perception on the story which is being told.

The media is very quick to pass a label on someone regarding their body shape and I feel that this study adequately represents this through a survey and examination of the results this has been shown. The women of African American ethnicity were judged more harshly than the Caucasian people. Although,there was not much difference between men and women issues regarding sexism in the media is still prevalent in society.

Works Cited

Puhl, R., Luedicke, J., & Heuer, C. (2017). The Stigmatizing Effect of Visual Media Portrayals of Obese Persons on Public Attitudes: Does Race or Gender Matter?: Journal of Health Communication: Vol 18, No 7. Retrieved 16 April 2017, from

Created By
Lauren Ruehle

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