Beauty and Body Image in the Media

Look at all those pictures, the spray tanned bodies that glow in the middle of winter, the women whose faces never age after twenty years, and the celebrities that can eat whatever they want, yet stay thin forever. Any of this sound familiar? Pictures and articles of these people and cosmetics are seen every day and fill a great percentage of the magazines we read and see on T.V. It’s so easy to get caught up in the media because of the ‘perfection’ we see in it, but the question is does the beauty and body image in the media equal self-improvement or self- destruction?

When we look at the media we recognize that women are the ones that are criticized and men are less of a concern when it comes to beauty and their body. We do however, picture that men should have a six packs and work out all the time if they want to live their life the best way possible. When new movies come out that’s the first thing you’ll hear, how an actor like Taylor Laughtner gained 20 pounds of muscle and is now looking better than ever. Women are criticized much more. It’s not as simple as working out and eating healthy. There’s always the promise of a new diet that you just ‘have’ to use to lose the last few pounds, because if you do, your life will overall be perfect. The real image of women is lost in the media because the industry favors the skinny models and perfect tanned girls in magazines we constantly read.

Standards of women are being put to the test every day. Most women are naturally not what is seen in the magazines. Being thin and losing the right amount of weight has become an over obsession with many young women. The media has set standards that are unrealistic for what the ‘normal’ body weight and appearance should be. Their portrayal of ‘normal’ keeps getting thinner and thinner for women and more body muscle and for men.

The body image in the media keeps changing and people do their best to keep up with it. Twenty-five years ago the average female model only weighed 8% less than the average American woman, whereas today the average female model weighs 23% below her average weight. With the confusion of the ‘perfect’ image always changing, the goal to reach that stage of the beauty and body image has become an obsession for many people. Most women don’t have the genetic make up to be the ultra- tall and thin model body type. Of course not all of us look up to models, but perhaps our favorite celebrities. Maybe our view of celebrities aren’t realistic. When we see celebrities do we think ‘wow I want to be able to reach my goal to be an actress too’ or ‘I wish I could be as pretty as them’? Most likely you’re thinking ‘I wish I could be as pretty as them’ or something regarding their looks. Sometimes we get so caught up in the reality the media shows us and then we do things that aren’t so smart. This is what has caused many young women to develop eating disorders. It’s been researched that one out of every four college-aged women use unhealthy eating habits to manage their weight. The unhealthy habits include self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, skipping meals, and fasting.

A question some of us might ask is why does the media focus on a ‘perfect’ person? A few researches lead us to think it may have to do with economics. It’s a chain reaction for the business industry. First, someone will buy the magazine after seeing the cover that insists on ‘top 5 ways to lose twenty pounds before spring break’ or ‘the perfect makeup to make you look ten years younger’. Then, the person who reads the magazine will most likely go out and buy the products advertized or promised to improve you. With an ideal body and image presented by the media that is hard to reach, the cosmetic and diet product industries are reassured of increasing profits and growth.
The continuing messages we see on a daily basis from dieting to aging tells the “average” woman that a part of them still needs work or adjustments. Of course most of us fall into this dark hole of what we see as perfection. Reality looses to the media almost 90% of the time. Women see the pictures and articles in magazines of the celebrity or ‘perfect’ stereotype and judge themselves by the beauty industry’s standard. Instead of telling the public how they can change themselves the media should offer healthy ways to reach a goal that is actually realistic. Some magazines have taken the first step into accepting other types of models or people rather than the ‘perfect’ type and putting them into the magazines. I believe that the media is a self-destructive industry. The female body as well as the male body should not be judged and seen as an object to always be perfected.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

jennyy__chavezz said...
Oct. 30, 2014 at 11:06 am
all of this is true you are a great writer. your essay really hepled on my project for school. 
 
kota13 said...
Nov. 10, 2010 at 11:32 am
you are so right!!!!!!!!!!! i love that pic, thats what the media makes you feel like. i've been there done that. and i love that you put a quote on your article. it helped me with a essay i had to do on the media and body image. keep on writing and i'll keep reading! YOUR A PRO!!!!!!!!
 
sammiisweetheart replied...
Nov. 11, 2010 at 9:45 pm
Thanks so much I'm glad my writing help you (:
 
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