Idealbody images presented in mass mediaareunrealistic representation of women
Thesocio-cultural standards regarding feminine beauty are depicted innearly all kinds of popular media, hailing women with images thatshow what is regarded as ‘ideal body.’ However, suchsocio-cultural standard are nearly unachievable for many women mostof the models shown in the advertisement and on the television arebelow what is regarded as ‘ideal body image.’ For this and amongother reasons, mass media use unrealistic representation of women asthis sends an inherent message of beauty. A person’s mindset thatone can never be ‘too thin or too rich’ is all too widespread insociety, and this makes it very hard for women to be contented withtheir physical appearance. It is worth to note that female body imageis a complex element of self-concept that involves women feelings andperception regarding their physical and body appearance.  Therefore,this paper discusses why ideal body images presented in the massmedia are unrealistic representation of women.
Reason1:idealization of female body thinness as socio-cultural standard ofbeauty
Mostsignificantly, body images portrayed in the mass media today displayan unrealistic feminine beauty that has a greater influence on themanner in which women view themselves. With respect to media massperspectives, thinness of the female body is idealized and thus,women who possess this attribute are regarded as being attractive.There are several evidences that support the premise that women withideal thinness are indeed attractive. Female body images intelevision, advertisements, and music normally depict the ‘idealwoman’ as thin, tall, and white, with a blonde hair, and a‘tubular’ body (Denise63).In addition, the media full of female images that fulfill suchunrealistic standards, making the situation to be seen as normal forwomen to strive achieving ideal body image. With respect to theprevalence of unrealistic female body images, ultra-thin models areso outstanding that their exposure becomes ‘chronic’ andunavoidable in nature, steadily reinforcing incongruity for manywomen between their ideal and actual body size (Dittmarand Howard 478). For this reason, many women are striving hard to‘look good’ by adopting eating habits that makes them becomeideally thin, thereby fitting to the societal standards of beauty.
Objection:Many women in United States are becoming slim to avoid obesity andnot as a socio-cultural standard of beauty
Manywomen are trying hard to achieve ideal body thinness by adoptingeating behaviors that facilitates slimness, as they try to avoidobesity. Obesity is very prevalent in United States cuased byincrease in body weight. In addition, it has been regarded as akiller disease. For this reason, women are avoiding foods believed tocuase obesity. Consequently, they become so thin that they meet thediagnostic requirements for anorexia nervosa. One of thecharacteristics of this eating disorder (anorexia nervosa) is theobsession of women to have ideally thin figure. Due to the risk ofanorexia nervosa, most women are avoiding becoming so slim and,therefore, they do not meet the socio-cultural standards of beauty.Therefore, it is very hard for the mass media to get women with idealbody image the fact that makes them unrealistically respresent women.
Thisis true, but many women are preferring body thinness as means ofattaining socio-cultural standard of beauty. This objection is stillincomplete because most women in the United States are suffering fromobesity and when they are avoiding this by becoming slim, they do notnecessarily attain ideal body thinness.
Reason2: There are few women that meet ideal body image standards
Anotherreason for unrealistic representation of women in mass media is thatthere are small proportions of women in Western countries who meetimportant criteria that media utilize to define “body beauty”.For this reason, media has to misrepresent women so as to lookideally beautiful. Many women are constantly exposed to the mediafemale images that convey messages that women are not attractive andacceptable f they do not conform to the ultra-thin socio-culturalstandard of beauty (Dittmar & Howard 478). In the last few years,women body sizes have grown larger and larger, while societalstandards concerning body shape have grown thinner and thinner (Julia8).Therefore, such a discrepancy has made it hard for many women toattain the current socio-cultural ideal body image that can bedisplayed in the mass media. For this reason, perfection standard isunrealistic and potentially dangerous as many female models shown onthe advertisements, televisions and magazines are about twentypercent below ideal body image. Therefore, women are unrealisticallyrepresented by the mass media.
Objection:There is no agreed standards of beauty and many women are achievingideal body image even without misrepresentation in the media
Itis not in order to suggest that ideality of beauty can only beachieved by the minority who strive for it. In fact, there are manywomen who meet the beauty standards of certain place and time, andbeauty standards change to maintain women’s extraordinary nature.Therefore, the standard of beauty varies across culture and withtime. In addition, various aspects of women bodies such as breasts are modified to conform to ever-fluctuating ideal through plasticsurgery.
Althoughthe beauty standards are varying across the culture and time, manywomen have not been able to met ideal body standards in the face ofthe media. Therefore, this objection seems insufficient as it doesnot provide criteria for determining ideal beauty.
Reason3: Women are misrepresented for the purpose of adversing beautyproducts and magazines
Inmodern society of sexualized and skinny culture, it is nearlyimpossible to uncover the realistic perception of beauty. However,manufacturer of creams, soaps, shampoos, and among other cosmeticitems, has established a novel advertising campaign concerning ‘realbeauty’ (Anthony68).Their prevailing marketing campaigns portray usual, curvy women thatcan potentially change perceptions of the society of what is meant bythe term ‘real beauty’. Furthermore, Advertisements andmagazines are also portraying unrealistic representation of women byexposing beauty products with ideal body images as way of marketingthem. Therefore, these strategies of marketing lure women into buyingmagazines and beauty products, as they have proven to have a verypowerful impact on women’s sense of self and contentment with theirbody appearance. Most of the beauty products in the prevailing marketare marketed using ideal body images that will attract women whowould like to achieve such body images (Anthony69).In addition, magazines contain variety of thin models regarded ascompetent and attractive by the fashions they are modeling. It hasbeen found that frequent reading of magazines is consistentlyinterconnected with the higher levels of body dissatisfaction amongwomen and thus, they strive hard to attain ideal body image (Wen129).
Objection:Using ideal body image in beauty product’s packages and magazines is one of the ways of showing the effectiveness of the products tothe user.
Sincemost women would like to achieve ideal body image, most of the beautyproduct manufacturers are using ideal body images on the beautyproduct packages as a way of influencing women’s purchasingdecisions on beauty products. The female body images on theseproducts are idealized to show the effectiveness of the beautyproducts on the users. For example, the images on the beauty productssuggest that women using those beauty products are likely to assumesimilar appearances. Therefore, the images of the women on beautyproducts are unrealistically represented in the media for the purposeof conviencing the users the effectiveness of these beauty products.
Thisis may be true to some extent, but beauty product’s packages andmagazines with ideal female body images are more attractive topotential customers, and this is an effective advertising strategyfor companies dealing with these products. Therefore, objection isincomplete because most of these beauty products does not give women(users) the ideal body image.
Reason4: The beauty of women celebrities and movie stars is idealized inthe mass media to attract more customers of their products
Thedifficulty in making a distinction between reality and media imageand setting up the anticipated models for representing women’sappearance make it complex for women to meet the popular media’sdemand (Gilbert170).The examples of the technology and processes that assist mediatransform women’s image includes but not restricted to digitalediting and photography, controlling weights, and virtual reality.These methods of changing media body images have impact on thereality. With the advancing technology and expansion of the cosmeticindustry, it has become much easier for the media to conceal certainimperfections and flaws of the images they portray. They are doing soto attract more customers to buy their products. Therefore,idealizing body image is strategy for attracting more consumers oftheir products. For example, Pamela Anderson underwent plasticsurgery to increase robustness of her boobs. It is highly contendedthat female celebrities and movie stars are greatly misrepresentedconcerning their appearance (Milestone,Katie & Meyer 96).
Objection: Many celebrities and movie stars use idealized beauty to increasetheir popularity and authentication of movies respectively
Mostimportantly, not all models are attractive to everyone. Therefore,when the celebrities and movie stars uses idealized beauty in themedia, they become more popular across the globe. In achieving idealbody beauty or image, movie stars uses digital editing, photographyand virtual reality to gain body appearance that is attractive andadmirable. Some celebrities undergo plastic surgery and breastimplants for similar reasons of increasing popularity andauthentication.
Thismay be the case, but many celebrities and movie stars are stillidealizing their body image through digital editing and othertechnologies to become more appealing to the funs who constituteslarger proportion of their consumers. Therefore, this objection isincomplete as women celebrities uses idealized body image primarilyas a marketing strategy.
Massmedia is an influential messenger and responsible for shaping our society. Therefore, it should be recommended that mass media shouldstop disempowering and objectifying women in the way theyunrealistically represent them. It is unfortunate to recognize thatthe influx of domestic violence, eating disorders, rape, and suicidesare as a result of media’s unrealistic representation of women. Ina bid to attain body thinness, women should be careful not become sothin that they succumb to anorexia nervosa which is characterized byobsession of women to have thin figure, whether for beauty ornutrition purposes. In addition, women should cautious whenundergoing either plastic surgery or breast implants as this posefuture health hazard. Besides, media should be care when presentingpictures full of womanhood portrays as this has decrimental effectson society in terms of moral erosion. Therefore, the mass mediashould now take another perspective of representing women’sachievement, individuality, intellent, and inventiveness, instead ofconcentrating on their personal appearance, sex and materialism.
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