Todays the late eightys to the ninetys more
Todays media places an extreme amount of pressure on women to maintain a slenderfigure. Through childhood to adulthood, women are bombarded with images of stick skinnywomen, and this is the way almost every woman wants to look. Although there are other factors,the media is the primary source of the obsession with being thin. Why has this become such apopular trend? This is what society says is acceptable. It has been proven that these images ofperfect women do affect the normal women who wish to look like that.
Shaw and Stein foundthat, Women exposed to pictures of thin models experienced more depression, stress, guilt,shame, insecurity, and body dissatisfaction than women exposed to photos of average sizedwomen or control photos (Medias n. pag.). Now, thanks to the unrealistic expectations puton women to maintain the perfect shape, eating disorders are on the rise. Then, once they entercollege, the body images of women get even worse. They are on their own now and can eatwhenever and whatever they desire; therefore, college girls gain weight and diet. When they gainthe weight they are willing to do anything to lose it.
A persons body image can also varydepending on that persons race. On the surface it may seem that the media is trying to workthrough this weight issue, but society already has a prejudice against being too heavy. Everymedia influence is shoving in all American girls, womens, and sometimes mens faces, that thin isThe burden of attempting to have the flawless build has been climbing to unrealisticheights in the past years. In the fortys, the sexy look for women was to be curvaceous and havesome meat on her bones, however; from the late eightys to the ninetys more emphasis wasplaced on having no figure at all. The best body for women today is a waifish body, if you have curves you are considered over weight. This damages the self-concept of less than perfectwomen. The increasing pressure to be thin and the unrealistic images portrayed in the massmedia may have a devastating effect on womens self-perceptions, self esteem, and identitydevelopment (Heights 603-614).
There have been many studies on the weight decline ofPlayboy centerfolds and Miss America Pageant contestants over the years. In 1960, the averagePlayboy models weight was 91% of the population mean. By 1978, it dropped to 84% andcontinues to plummet. From 1979 to 1988, 69% of Playboy models and 60% of Miss Americacontestants weighed 15% or more below their expected weight, which is criterion for anorexia(603-614). Who is too blame for this massive self destructive phenomenon? Most of the fault lieswith the media. Children as young as two years old start to see images of perfect women, whoone day they are supposed to look like.
Even the dolls and Barbies they play with have flawlessfigures. In the fortys and fiftys children we seeing more shapely models and actresses, so therewas not the strain on those children of doing anything possible to achieve a so called perfectWhen you turn on the television, do you see many heavy women or men for that matter? No, the majority of todays actors and actresses are thin. The fat people are usually the funnyunusual people on sitcoms and daytime shows. The only other place you might find an overweight person is on a pathetic talk show.
When you only see fat women as miserable talk showguests, then you are thinking if you become over weight you might end up where they are, so youhad better go on a diet. Speaking of diets, a study found diet promotions, nonexistent in 1973,make up about five percent of television commercials (Berg n. pag.
). When doing segments onweight, producers want to know what the women look like. The producers explanation for thisis, We do not want to turn off our viewers (Fear n. pag.) You might think that putting reallife people on their program instead of women that are not representative to the bulk of the femalepopulation in the United States today, might raise their ratings. As society gets fatter and fatter,the media is going to have to start dealing with this issue.
They say that they are, but actions speak louder than words. Some magazines have dared to write articles on heavier women, butthere are never any pictures. An example of that was in Harpers Bazaar, they ran an article on anew model named Wanderful who was 183 pounds and proud of it, but again there were nopictures. They are saying that it is acceptable to be imperfect, when it really is not (Review n.Preteen to teenage girls are especially susceptible to the medias influence on everything, not only their size.
Magazines for teenage girls give training in lookism. The emphasis in on makeup, fashion, weight and how to attract boys, with almost no space given to sports, hobbiesor careers (Berg n. pag.
). Girls will put on a false identity of how society expects them to be. They no longer feel that they can totally be themselves without looking over theirshoulder. An example of this was shown at the 1996 Academy Awards when Alicia Silverstonewas made fun of for gaining five or ten pounds since her last movie. The headlines read Batmanand Fatgirl, and Look out Batman, here comes Buttgirl (Berg n.
pag.). Their being acceptedin this nation depends on being sickly thin, no matter what the health risks are. High school girlssay they are terrified to become fat. In a study of 326 New York high school girls, 72 percentsaid they had attempted to diet. Currently dieting were 20 percent of underweight, 32 percent ofnormal weight, and 54 percent of overweight girls (Berg n.
pag.). On the bus, in class, afterclass, at lunch, and on the weekend, girls obsess over their weight and how bad they look.
Theytalk about how different parts of their bodies are too flabby and how they wish they could movefat from one part of their body to another. No matter how hard they try, these young girls willnever live up to their own expectations.Another factor that has had an effect on how seriously girls and women take the mediasadvertising of the perfect body is race. African Americans are more accepting of women withbodies in various shapes and sizes. These girls do not have to be skinny to be thought of aspretty. White and Hispanic girls on the other hand do have a huge obligation to themselves, so they think, to be as small as possible. A study done in Arizona of 300 girls showed the vastcontrast of the ideal body of a white girl and a black girl.
Even when the girls weight was normal, over 90 percent of the white girls were unsatisfied with their current size. They wantedto lose weight to be perfect and popular. The perfect girl described by the white girls was agirl weighing 120 pounds, long legs and long blonde hair. Even though most of the girls, whencomparing themselves to this ideal girl, were displeased with their bodies; they are jealous of thegirls that do fit that description. The black girls in the study had more flexible images of beauty. Being yourself, having style, having confidence, and looking good, were the most important partsof being perfect.
They say beauty comes from, Making what you have work for you (Berg n.Many female role models, past to present, have had to struggle with media pressure to bethin. Now no woman that sees that happening wants to go through the same circumstance, so shemust diet to keep a figure that is acceptable to the public, no matter what the consequence.
Before Princess Diana got married the media got a peek of her at about a size twelve. They knewnothing about her, just that she was not a size five. So, they public harassed her until she lostweight and her hair got blonder. When she did that, she got tormented by the media once morefor looking anorexic. Which is better, being too fat or too thin? The ideal body is very slender,but when you are that thin, you are thought to be sick.
An Additional role model that has hadweight issues is Oprah Winfrey. She has lost weight and gained weight many times, and everytime someone has something mean to say about it. She cannot win either way (Berg n. pag.).
The rising star, Calista Flockhart, otherwise known as Ally McBeal, has had many problems withthe media thinking that she is anorexic, although; she insists that she never denies herself food. The harassment started with her appearance at the Emmy Awards. She wore a sheath,open-backed dress that left little to the imagination. That left the media asking: is she too skinnyor is she anorexic? To see how the media torture her about her size, we can look to Jay Leno. On The Tonight Show. Leno said that the typical McBeal meal consisted of three peas and a limabean.
This indicates even being the ideal thinness can be unfavorable (Duffy 71-72).Once women enter college they have entered the most high risk time of their lives foracquiring an eating disorder. They have dealt with it all their lives, but now that they are awayfrom home it becomes more difficult to bear. The media also plays a part in their struggles whichis worse than all the other women, because the stress of leaving home makes them even moresusceptible to the medias influence. Jennifer Biely, EDAPs director says, College women areaway from their families, and theres tremendous pressure to find their way in the world.
Food isone thing they can control (Out 52-72). It is tough to gain awareness of these diseases oncollege campuses, because so much time is spent on rape, alcohol, and drug awareness. They donot want to believe that this is the immense problem that it really is. As colleges are discoveringthat not dealing with the issue is far more costly than intervening before the girls have serioushealth problems, people are hopeful that awareness of this developing problem will be addressed.
In February 1998, over 600 college campuses participated in a National Eating DisordersScreening Program; of the 26,000 students who filled out questionnaires, 4,700 were referred fortreatment (52-72). As this problem rages on campuses across the United States, most do notrealize how devastating these diseases can be. Studies have shown that with good treatment, 70percent of people with eating disorders will be cured; although, this cure could take years toachieve. Sociologist, Traci Mann, says, I can tell that what matters is whats going on in herhead and heart, but when she turns on the TV, she sees that what really matters is how youIn conclusion, the media plays a tremendous role in womens body dissatisfaction; although, there are other causes, the media simply makes those worse.
Most women are veryvulnerable to how the media portrays women on TV, in magazines, and many other aspects of oureveryday life. It is a very extensive problem effecting little girls to grown women. Even thoughthe media says it is trying to work with the issue, their actions speak louder than words. Will this problem ever be treated? Will women always want to be skinniest of them all? It used to beunfashionable to be sickly thin, but now it is the way to be and if you are not a boney skeletonthen you are considered fat.
This makes for a poor self image and women are thinking they arefat when really they are that their normal weight. If the normal weight in the 40s and 50s was tobe curvaceous and have some meat on your bones, how will it be in the years to come? It seemsthat the normal weight keeps getting smaller and smaller. When will we be little enough? Withthe extreme amount of pressure on women to be thin, who knows what the ideal woman will looklike in twenty years.If this continues, eating disorders will be vast epidemics that will spread allthrough the country, worse than it is today.
It is totally unrealistic to allege that the women onTV are perfect. They may have a flawless body, but are they really happy? Women must realizethat there is no perfect figure and being perfect involves more than merely what you look like.Bibliography: