Women’s Beauty Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the eyes of society, women like Pamela Anderson, Tyra Banks and Carmen Electra are the epitome of perfection. What girl would not want to look like them? Unfortunately, a number of girls want to be just like them. Every year, millions of people are hurting themselves trying to be carbon copies of these sex symbols. The media presents society with unrealistic body types promoting people, especially women, to look like them.
Through TV shows, commercials, magazines or any form of advertising, the media enforces a certain body type which women emulate. The so-called perfect body type causes many negative effects on women in the US. Women who focus on unrealistic body images tend to have lower self-esteem and are more likely to fall prey to eating disorders. The media has a dangerous influence on women’s health in the United States. The media is a primary factor in the development and maintenance of women’s body image problems. Women start to feel insecure about their bodies by looking at media images. This would not be such a problem if these images were not reinforced daily. This provokes women to diet more because they feel more pressure to be slim.
“But advertisers are not particularly wicked people who set out to delude and mislead us. They simply provide images that we find seductive. Advertisers are the voice of society projected on a billboard or a TV screen” (Buckroyd 52). The magazine racks in any local store are saturated with magazines highlighting beautiful women adorning the covers. Commercials on TV feature tall, thin women promoting a certain product.
The media presents and unrealistic body type for girls to look up to. They do not reflect on images from everyday life. When walking around in any place, very few people look like the women in commercials, most of them thin, but not overly so. Because flawless images appear so often in daily life, its hard to remember their not real and often many girls don’t. They hold themselves up to these images and feel the only was they can live life to its fullest is to look like these people.
Even if someone as at their perfect weight, it’s easy to feel like a failure when comparing to a movie star or to Seventeen’s cover girl. The line between fantasy and reality is skewed by mass media. The media places much stress on obtaining the so-called body image. Society pays a significant amount of attention to body image, physical attractiveness, youthfulness, sexuality and appearance. “The minimum requirement for the sort of model who appears on advertising hoarding is a height of 5 ft 9 in and a size 8 to 10” (Buckroyd 55).
No matter how hard someone tries, they will never achieve the look and figure of the supermodels. “The problem of girls and women comparing themselves to ‘ideal women’ has gotten more difficult in recent years. A look at the measurement of Playboy centerfolds and Miss America finalists over the past 20 years shows that, although these women symbolize beauty have been weighing less and less. In other words, society’s ideal women keeps getting thinner and thinner and much more difficult for people to imitate” (Maloney 2). There is a right way for the female body to look and that way is thin.
“But what we see on television is a special kind of thin. Most of us could starve our selves down to slivers and still not look anything like those sleek bodies that flit across our screen day and night” (Valette 4). “You can’t get away from TV, it’s everywhere” (Brew I). Leading characters in the current crop of TV shows are all thin. The TV shows with the highest ratings, such as Friends and Ally McBeal, have tall thin lead actresses.
In Friends, there are three young, tall, and thin leads. They are outfitted in tight shirts and mini-skirts. They all live good lives and have fun. In Ally McBeal, Ally is played by a young tall and extremely thin actress. She plays a successful lawyer.
The message that this is sending across is that the key to success in today’s society is to be young, tall and thin. Characters that are heavier are usually elderly , matronly, in low-status occupation or on the wrong side of the law. In the TV show Roseanne, she played an overweight mother of a low-income family. The show related with a lot more people, but the message was fat people can’t be successful. The media biggest target is children. They are young and easily influenced. “Oh, nobody takes stuff on television that seriously”, (Valette 31).
But psychologists who study the effects of television on children’s learning do not agree. The have shown that television images have a unique power to mold children’s attitudes. “These attitudes are established at a very early age in America. Preschoolers who are given a choice of thin dolls or chubby ones tend to choose the thin ones. By the second grade, youngster describe overweight classmates as ‘lazy’ and ‘stupid,’ even though these labels and inaccurate and unfair” (Erlanger 5). Consciousness about body image can start as early as six.
Children look at TV characters as what society expects of them. Through television images, they can already start to stereotype if heavy people are seen in low-class or low comedy roles, children will look down upon them; if thin people show up in high roles, children assume that they play and important role in society. “Television is the most powerful communication medium in our whole visually oriented society” (Valette 32). Hollywood makes people feel inadequate if our bodies aren’t like the ones seen in movies. “Stars have personal trainers, stylists, make-up artists and people to airbrush the wrinkles and cellulite out of their magazine covers – all of whom create an image that is meant to be frozen in a photograph or presented in a two-hour snippet” (Brew I). The bodies we see on TV are perfect.
They are bodies of athletes, models, and weight trainers. These people keep themselves in showroom condition all the time and are expected too. For example, Pamela Anderson’s contract for Baywatch strictly forbade her to gain weight. She had a fitness regimen, even during non-working months. “Anderson keeps to a rigorous program of 25-mile mountain bike rides or one to two hour athletic walks, plus 50 lap pool swims or more strenuous ocean swims” (Zimmerman I).
Pamela Anderson isn’t the only one with such a vigorous routine, other stars have followed the trend too. “The REDBOOK article ‘Take it off like a star’ described Oprah Winfrey as having ‘a maniac exercise routine’ th …