The culture of thin synthesis essay

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AP Language 2015


The following prompt is based on the “Culture of Thin” readings, as well as the visuals/videos shown in class.

Several decades ago, feminists hoped that our society would change its attitude toward women’s bodies and become less obsessed with appearances. American society has indeed changed—as have others, often under the influence of ours. But rather than learning to accept our bodies and ourselves, women and men are encouraged in many ways to gaze into the mirror and be disappointed with what they see. Should we be worried?

Lunsford, Andrea, John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything’s an Argument with Readings, 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007. 587.

Read the sources (including the introductory information) carefully. Then, write an essay in which you develop a position on the effects of the media on body image. Synthesize at least five sources for support.

The question requires you to synthesize a variety of sources into a coherent, well-written essay. Synthesis refers to combining the sources and your position to form a cohesive, supported argument and accurately citing sources. Your argument should be central; the sources should support this argument. Avoid merely summarizing sources.
Remember to attribute both direct and indirect citations. Accurate MLA citation format required.
Questions for Further Thought

  • Why do you think there is so much focus in our society on body image?

  • Where does our notion of an "ideal" body come from?

  • Why do we think we should look a certain way?

  • How does the ideal image of a woman's body differ in other cultures? In other historic times? How does this compare to the ideal image of a man's body?

  • Who controls what images we see?

  • Do you think teenage girls are especially vulnerable to these ideas? Do teenage boys feel similar pressures?


  • SYNTHESIS ESSAY + ANNOTATED WORKS CITED AND CONSULTED: Friday, February 6. The Works Cited and Consulted includes all unit readings, including advertising readings.

  • DISCUSSION LEADER: each student will be expected to serve as discussion leader for 1 reading in this unit.

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