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The True Pressures of the Lives of Women

Society today advertises many supplements that puts pressure on people to change themselves. The world can be harsh, especially toward women, as it sets an implied standard on how they should maintain their bodies in order to be presented as beautiful. Women face many pressures throughout their lives to maintain a certain image more than men. Unrealistic expectations presented to women from the media, society, and their peers inflict pressure on them to change their bodies as they handle their busy lives.

    

The media portrays an implied standard of how women should look compared to models with unrealistic photo-shopping. Everywhere a woman turns, she sees models as symbols of how beauty should be with digitally-edited bodies on televisions and on the covers of magazines. The false images of model sizes presented in the media make women feel bad about themselves and puts pressure on them to change themselves to try to look like what they see. Studies at two different U.S. colleges concluded that more than half of the females on the campuses felt worse about themselves after reading women's magazines (“Body Image”). Western culture constantly harasses women to accept the idea that the thinner they are, the prettier and more attractive they will be. This is shown in the article “Photoshopping: Altering Images and Our Minds” when it is stated, "While the vast majority of images of women are being digitally altered, so are our perceptions of normal, healthy, beautiful, and obtainable." As advertisements continue to persuade women to buy beauty products and display models with unrealistically thin figures, women naturally body-shame themselves because they grow to feel that they are not beautiful and are not what the world wants them to be. In a general Google search of the phrase “female model photoshopping” an average of 22.2 million results emerge in 0.65 seconds. A Google search of “male model photoshopping” only produces about 1.2 million results in 0.61 seconds. These conclusions alone are proof that women face more pressure from the media than men because there are more photo edits, or virtual changes, that women see on a daily basis. The plethora of finds that come up when looking for “female model photoshopping” compared to the diminutive results that appear for “male model photoshopping” reflects how much more intimidation women face from indirect media criticism than men.

    

Along with pressure from outside communications, women face peer pressure from their acquaintances to look a certain way in order to fit in to what the media has also influenced them to be. As women give in to the media perception of beauty, they encourage other women to do the same, thus carrying on the bandwagon propaganda. Many cosmetic brands consistently advertise their products as the best buy for women. Women gradually become convinced which brands are the best for them, and, as a result, they persuade their friends to use those certain brands as well. Female companions advise each other on what beauty products they should and should not use, reciting information they have learned from advertisements for what will alter their beauty routine for the best results (“Revamp Your Routine”). The peer pressure women deal with from their friends to buy particular beauty products increases as large makeup establishments compete with each other to see who can make women change themselves the most. Peers also influence the type of clothes that women wear because they want each other to stay up to date with the latest styles, or wear certain clothing, that corresponds to what they are wearing. Due to the fact their acquaintances feel it would be the best option for them, women keep up with modern trends, but lose their own style along the way. For example, in the magazine article, “How to Find the Best Jeans for Every Body Type,” women start to feel as if they need a material item to make them confident about their appearance.  As they continuously accept what their friends tell them about what is the most appealing for their body, women began to grow discouraged because it seems that they have to conform to a certain fashion sense if they are not built like a supermodel (“How to Find”). With all the peer pressure, women can get to the point where they no longer have their own personality, but instead, rely on the clothes to reflect the personality they once had within themselves (“The Biggest Fashion”). Women, far more than the opposite sex, face more peer pressure to preserve a certain image. Women are the main targeted audience of cosmetic and fashion industries because these businesses know that the women are more likely to be persuaded by other women to purchase their merchandise. Men do not have to wear makeup, dresses, heels, etc., and the businesses know they will not be persuaded to buy their products. From all the peer pressure, it becomes a set routine for females to live by image standards and to make their friends do the same. Because of this, it is natural for “women, far more than men, to involve themselves in groups aimed at altering the body image” in order to live out this forced, false, image statement (Gimlin 4). How women accept or handle peer pressure about their images, stems back to how their families taught them about who they were and their body image as children (Anderson). Men, as young boys, did not have to worry about this topic, because it would not be such an important matter in their lives.

    

Far more intimidating than peer pressure, females face pressure to quickly regain their figure after they bring a new life into the world. The unrealistic ideas created by factors such as culture and marketing of how a woman should look after giving birth can add a lot to a new mother’s plate (Nicogossian). The extra pressure the woman deals with while caring for a child can make them frustrated. Trying to get adjusted to their new baby and, at the same time, figure out how to get the “perfect” body back can be a really depressing time period (Nicogossian). All of the pressure can cause a woman to fall into Postpartum Depression. This diagnosis can be even more stressful as the woman now has to juggle caring for her baby, dealing with the pressure to lose weight, and handling her saddening inner feelings (Lifshitz). Childbirth is a life changing experience for a woman and it is different for all women. Men do not have to cope with the pressures that come along with nurturing a newborn. Men do not understand and never will be able to understand the pressures a woman goes through during this stage in her life. The pressures women have to go through after a pregnancy are stressful, and in extreme cases, can require mental and/or medical attention (Nicogossian). The pressures can take a toll on women’s bodies and mind, but they manage to handle it and maintain sanity the best way they know how because it is just a woman thing.

    

Some people take an opposing argument that men face more pressure to achieve a certain appearance than women because they are expected to have muscular and athletic physique in order to attract women, look their best, and fit in with their friends. This statement, however, is highly false as men don’t even face half the pressure women must face in life. Some men do desire to look a certain way, but “physical attractiveness is simply more important for women than for men” (Gimlin 4). A man can have a little extra weight, but a woman in modern society would be criticized for letting herself go or looking sloppy if she were on the thick side of the spectrum. A man can go out in public or with his friends and would not be harassed as much, if at all, as a woman would be for her looks. Pressure on women is so much, and it can get to the point where women feel they have no choice but to wear makeup or keep up with the latest styles. If a woman does not present herself to the world a specific way, she could get labeled as unfeminine (Gimlin 4). Women face so much more pressure than men that eventually they just start to lose sight of who they actually are. Women are effected so much by the pressures they have in life they grow critical to the small details on their body instead of focusing on the person as a whole (“Dove Real Beauty”). Men are not pressured to the point where they start to judge every feature about themselves and question who they are. In a woman’s situation, it can take an individual they do not even know to show them who they really are because they degrade themselves so much of their true beauty, inside and out (“Dove Real Beauty”). Women journey through life experiencing so much that a man could ever fully understand. The extreme circumstances that women face compared to the minute issues men consider pressure, can become seriously overbearing and can cause women to give up.

    

Women have to survive many pressures in life, including pressures inflicted from the media, peers, and society. They are expected to look or be a certain way in order to be accepted as beautiful, perfect, or even just as a woman. Females have to manage so much pressure and it can make them deceive themselves of their true worth. Men do face pressures, but it is not nearly as much as what they world pushes on women. As they go throughout life, women are forced to accept who society want them to be. Despite the pressures, women, all women, are unique and should not have to change for anything or anyone because they have a mind of their own and need to remember they are “more beautiful than you think” (“Dove Real Beauty”).
 






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