Face the Fact
Body Images in the Media
Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest one of all? Societies standards for body shape and the importance of beauty is promoted by various media. The media links beauty to symbols of happiness, love and success for women. Media portrays these images as achievable and real. Until women accept their body image, they will continue to measure themselves against societies perfect image. Media representations of body image contribute to social trends of unhealthy lifestyles.
Female children learn to worry about their appearance from an early age. Huge quantities of girls between the ages of three and ten have one or more Barbie dolls. On television children are bombarded with commercials showing tall and thin women promoting dieting products and leading a dream life. Being exposed to numerous
perfect female images leads girls trying to defeat their imperfections into their adult life. Parental messages about appearance also have large impacts on young girls. In the Second Edition of Feminist Issues, Susan A. McDaniel comments: For the female child, to be assessed as pretty or beautiful is the highest accolade, one that usually makes her parents proudTo be pretty is to be approved of, liked and rewarded. She also mentions that in infancy, females are judged by standards of cuteness and prettiness and this shifts with age into standards of beauty and glamour. Parents of newborn babies tend to emphasise appearance more in girls than in boys.
Body image isnt just about appearance. What girls feel about their bodies is directly linked to their self-esteem and confidence. Many magazines which appeal to teenage girls such as Sassy, Seventeen, and Cosmopolitan advertise using many underweight models and promote products such as diet pills and Slim Fast. As children reach adolescence they see that nearly all of the famous actresses and models have the perfect image. Some girls will do anything to try and be like their roll model on T.V. Many girls in their adolescence years will acquire eating disorders such anorexia and bulimia to be beautiful. Because of social influence, what many females fail to
realise is that beauty is contained within.
Social influence extends itself into politics as well. In March 1997, Doug Young referred to Deborah Grey as a slab of bacon. Referring to the size of her body as a slab of bacon can only lower her self-esteem and create dissatisfaction towards her body image. If she were a male, this rude comment would not have been made.
Many methods of weight loss being used today are harmful to health. For the first time in history, the smoking rate of girls now surpasses that of boys, with the inviting motivation of weight control. This increased rate of female smokers will increase the number of women who die of a disease caused by smoking. Another common method to lose weight is to diet. This can lead to bulimia and anorexia. Bulimia is characterised by episodes of dieting and bingeing, getting rid of the food and fat consumed by vomiting,
as well as intense fear of fat and weight gain. Anorexia is characterised by starvation dieting, excessive exercising, unhealthy weight and also an intense fear of fat. Both bulimia and Anorexia can make you very ill and can also be fatal. Currently these self-destructive methods are widely supported for the transition towards a perfect image.
Media covers their negative images with slogans that many people will find
appealing. Medias images of women have a negative impact on self-esteem and
subconsciously sets them back. There will always be someone more beautiful if women compare themselves to the inhuman images portrayed in media. Women should feel confidant about who they are. You oh Queen are fair Ts true, but Snow White is far fairer than you.