The Image of Beauty

January 29, 2012
By MayaRansome BRONZE, Rhinebeck, New York
MayaRansome BRONZE, Rhinebeck, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

When skimming through the pages of magazines or flipping through the television channels, I can’t help but notice the warped portrayal of women. Do we live in an era where big is not beautiful? Where women with fat on their thighs, hips, stomach and arms are looked down upon? Where girls with a size twelve jeans cannot be featured on the cover of Vogue or Cosmo? The full-figured women are being hidden in the shadows, not to be seen by teenage youth.
Top teen magazines, American Cheerleader, Girls life, Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle and Vogue are some of the main offenders. Girl’s Life only cover of a woman with curves was Raven Simone, where she was featured in a seated pose, to cover her stomach. The full-figured singer, Adele has recently been seen on magazine covers such as Elle, Cosmopolitan, Glamor and Q. Only one showed her from the shoulders down. Another plus sized star, Gabrielle Sidibe, was seen on the cover of Elle, also not shown from the shoulders down. Even Oprah Winfrey, known more for her success than voluptuous curves, was asked to be photographed for the cover of Vogue only if she, lost weight. Unfortunately, she complied.
“Mike and Molly”, a new television series on CBS, highlights the life of an overweight couple. This show has received a lot of negative feedback from viewers simply because the main characters are overweight. A Marie Claire opinion blogger, Maura Kelly wrote an article about the show, entitled “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?)” This crude heading was only the prelude to the insensitive words that followed. The article is sprinkled with disturbing analogies. Kelly equated her discomfort in watching the main characters Molly and Mike, to a “very, very fat person simply walking across a room” to watching “a heroine addict slumping in a chair.” Kelly also wrote, “I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other…. because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything.” Thankfully, the cruel comments caused a frenzy of emails to the author, some disputing her harsh comments about the overweight actors. Kelly later apologized.

Media can single handedly be held responsible for the increase of eating disorders, younger girls receiving cosmetic surgery earlier, and a decrease in the positive ways teenage girls view themselves. In order for girls to look at themselves in a more positive light, they need to be able to look to the media everyday for images of women of all shapes and sizes whom may look like them. Providing only one image of “beautiful” is setting teens up for self mutilating behavior, to make themselves look like the “beautiful” women constantly seen, instead of embracing themselves.

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