Our self-perception is largely affected by the stereotypes and body images we see in the media. Over the years, strong correlations between media and self- body images have been developed, attributing the “widespread body dissatisfaction” among women and adolescents to the exposure to unhealthy media ideals. The excessive portrayals of ‘ideal’ images are constantly seen in advertisements, for instance thin models with big chests, slim waists and long legs, with the intention to draw on people’s insecurities in order to persuade them to buy a product (Ossola, "The Media's Effect on Women's Body Image"). Not only do these generalizations in the media show the acceptable standards of beauty, but they also emphasize on the importance of being physically attractive in today’s society. As we live in a media-saturated world, seeing these ‘ideal’ body images inevitably leads to unhealthy self-comparisons and “internalizations of these media messages” (Pritchard, Cramblitt “Media Influence on Drive for Thinness and Drive for Muscularity”).
Yet today in our society the propagation of these ideal body types through various media outlets contradicts everything said earlier. If beauty is judged by what's inside then why are there such high, unrealistic standards set for women? And why do major media companies alter the images to hide any flaw a person has? This is a major factor that leaves many women unhappy with their own body type, as they do not look like the model on the front cover of the magazine; who “allegedly" represents society's ideal body type with traits that include: large eyes, a small nose, a slim waist, broad hips, large breasts, long legs and more traits that are a far cry from the average woman's size. However, it is fundamental to understand how all such front covers are heavily edited to extenuate certain parts to give the model her flawless and perfect
M., & Thompson, J. K. ,1996). This issue has been affecting our personal and external view of our body and how this days media represents what a perfect body according to Shelly Hitz is the image that media sells of “perfect body’’ that is thin and flawless (Hitz,Shelly). We are obsessed with a certain image that if we do not fit in this “standard body” we start to feel ugly, according to a survey made by Glamour Health in an average woman “97 percent admitted to having at least one “I hate my body” moment.” (Dreisbach, S,
Sociocultural standards of feminine beauty are present in roughly all types of popular media, attacking women with images that ´represent´ what is regarded to be the ultimate body type or the “ideal body.” Such beauty standards are far from what reality is and for most completely impossible-to-get; The majority of models exhibited on television, magazines and advertisements are beneath what is considered a healthy body type. A focus in appearance is an all-time job in many cultured nowadays, and with it comes the possible increase in negative body image. According to the authors of The Adonis Complex, “There’s often a vicious circle here: the more a person focuses on his body, the worse he tends to feel about how he looks – obsession breeds discontent.” In a college student study, 74.4%
Society has become so determinate on being perfect, focusing on the body and appearance. This is affecting women and girls all over the world and appears that it is only going to get worse. The standards on women have changed so drastically in several ways. Nina Bahadur states that, “A woman with a “perfect body” in 1930 would barely get a second look from Hollywood producers or model casting agents today”. Due to societies almost impossible expectations, it has negatively impacted women everywhere causing several complications.
A lot of her poems scream at society for the way you have to look to be accepted by society.Society emphasizes the need to be stick thin in order to fit in. With this being said it puts girls at risk to be anorexic because they want to please society and fit in with their peers. In the poem, Boland references Adam and Eve to bring religion into the picture. Religion has a big part in the poem because it causes a lot of guilt in the speaker. The poem “Anorexic by Eavan Boland is based on a girl who struggles with self-inflicted starvation.
The media portrays these unrealistic standards to men and women of how women should look, which suggests that their natural face is not good enough. Unrealistic standards for beauty created by the media is detrimental to girls’ self-esteem because it makes women feel constant external pressure to achieve the “ideal look”, which indicates that their natural appearance is inadequate. There has been an increasing number of women that are dissatisfied with themselves due to constant external pressure to look perfect. YWCA’s “Beauty at Any Cost” discusses this in their article saying that, “The pressure to achieve unrealistic physical beauty is an undercurrent in the lives of virtually all women in the United States, and its steady drumbeat is wreaking havoc on women in ways that far exceed the bounds of their physical selves” (YWCA). Being surrounded by society’s definitions of beauty has definitely taken a toll on American women’s confidence.
In South Africa, our media noticeably underrepresents as well as misrepresents women every single day. Women make up approximately fifty percent of our population; yet do not nearly make up that much in representation in the media. When they are represented, they are either misrepresented as victims or are completely sexually objectified. Their bodies are advertised as goods, as ‘things’, and used as bait to hook the interest of buyers in anything, even products that are utterly irrelevant to sex and sexuality. “Sex may sell, but the media has the power to change this.” - Lwanga Mwilu.
It has been proved many times with researches that mass media has an effect on women’s body image concerns. That is, in the magazines and TV people expose to lots of beautiful thin women images and that causes women to internalize unrealistic images of female beauty. Moreover, Tiggemann’s research with Australian adolescent and young women (2009) showed that exposure to thin-ideal media images lead women to feel bad about their body as well as increases their dissatisfaction with their bodies. However, mass media impact begins to decrease among new generation and social media claim its place. Social media sites are extremely common in new generations, in particular Facebook.
While doing so, this information and entertainment influences people’s attitudes, opinions, gender expectations, and contributes to the development of gender stereotypes. For instance, women, in the past were often depicted as inferior in comparison to men, especially in terms of education and occupation roles. This gender role has reversed significantly, however some television shows relating to sport have an under-representation of female participants, if women are represented, they are typically young and stereotypically sexualised in order to gain viewers. “Popular mass media in western societies has been criticised for sexually objectifying the female body. Both traditional and new media have been found to focus on women’s appearances in a sexualised way while ignoring women’s personalities” (Parker 2002, Ward, 1995 p3).