Women can be astronauts, doctors, leaders, business people...anything that they set their mind to. Instead in our real culture, we are teaching girls that to be accepted in this society, you have to be unintelligent and sexy. If we instead advertised more positive messages to young girls, I think that our society could benefit by a new generation of empowered females who don’t feel that it is necessary to be sexual. Sexy Inc really opened my eyes to massive amount of advertising that our society has become numb to. We should focus on family as a social structure and teach parents that these outside influences, like the media, celebrities and overly sexual dolls, are affecting young girls and causing them to think that being sexual at such a young age is appropriate.
In the essay “A Woman’s Body: Put Down or Power Source” by Susan Sontag and excerpt from the film “America the Beautiful” directed by Darryl Roberts, it emphasizes the “power of beauty” .Women are fascinated with a beauty that is unreal, made-up, and doesn’t exist. Young adults are unhappy with their bodies because of the unachievable standards of beauty portrayed in social media, several aspects of video and print media. This unhappiness causes young adults to obsess with achieving an unrealistic body image which in turn, causes low self -esteem and excessive dieting which can also lead to eating disorders such as anorexia. Young adults feel rejected because of their looks, provoking dissatisfaction and unhappiness with their appearance.
Albert Bandura has proposed the importance of social cognition theory, “learning socially accepted behaviours by observing them from their peers.” . Girls aged 12-14 years old begin to watch shows that pit women against each other such as Victorious, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Modern Family. These programs are on family networks, yet their subliminal messages transition to watching similar programs, like Keeping up with the Kardashian’s, The Real Housewives and The Bachelor as they transition to adulthood. Moss suggests the lack of female representation in multimedia has lead to the impression that women don’t talk to each other for ‘catty’ reasons. Academics Gerding and Signorielli believe that social cognitive theory, is a strong aspect of gender role learning to tweens as they are old enough to watch television actively and selectively.
Self-schemas related to body appearance are thought to influence how individuals respond in various social and private contexts (Cash et al., 2004 and Cash et al., 2005). Women are under constant pressure to achieve and maintain unrealistic slim and toned bodies in accordance with the Western cultural ‘ideal’ (Thompson & Heinberg, 1999) which increases the likelihood of negative emotions and body image disturbance (Brunet et al., 2012, Cash and Smolak, 2011, Fox, 2000 and Monro and Huon, 2005). Although negative body-related emotions may not always lead to clinical psychopathologies such as eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, and depression, they are associated with reduced overall psychological well-being (Davidson and McCabe, 2005, McKinley, 2006 and Moradi and Huang,
Piercy has an issue with “Barbie Doll” and the expectations society puts on women. The way society impacts the decisions that young girls make, forms from what they see and read. Piercy has an issue with the way that young girls look in magazines and on T.V., which advertises skinny models and celebrities. Young girls get the idea and feel compelled to look, act, and dress “perfect” converting with today's society. An example showing society’s actions affecting the “girlchild” were when, “Her good nature wore out like a fan belt.
Teal Pfeifer in her short story “Devastating Beauty” discusses the effect of portraying skinny ladies/models that are wear dress size 0 or 1 as the ideal body size in most advertisements. The author points out the fact that,this can be damaging to most women, especially young women who view these adverts. The young women who see these adverts begin to feel displeased with their bodies, and a vast majority of them venture into different kinds of diet. She further emphasized that adult females are not the only ones affected, but also young girls (Pfeifer 2). According to Slim Hopes, about 80 percent of girls below the age of ten have either been on a diet before and have stated that they want to be skinner and more pretty.
This is stating that today's media is based off as a specific appearance which is bias and should be promoting that teens should be embracing their natural beauty. “One study reports that at age thirteen, fifty-three percent of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies, this grows to seventy - eight percent by the time girls reach seventeen” (SafeTeens, National Eating Disorder Association). Teens should be learning that the way that they look does not describe what kind of person they are or how successful they’ll become. The media continues to advertise beauty product to promote covering up specific flaws, whether it’s someone’s eyes, nose, mouth or body. Mass Media programs should be encouraging teens to love who they are and what they are given.
The media is sexualizing woman and in television, the internet and books. Hans provides a convincing argument with supporting evidence and strategic organization of her article. Her creative and bold titles add empathies to the argument such as, “Sexy’s Not About Sex, It’s About Shopping”. Hanes has a young daughter herself and contains a background in play therapy her use of pathos is strong in this article. Hans believes the media has an oversexualized view of woman for example, Mother of a 3-year-old little girl Mary Finucane has claimed her daughter has “stopped running and jumping and insisted on only wearing dresses” (Hans pg.
The characters in the poem and short story “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy and “The Birth-Mark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne can both relate to one another in the fact that the public sets expectations for women. “Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:/ You have a great big nose and fat legs.” (Piercy 5-6) This quote from the poem “Barbie Doll” is an exceptional example of our general society making fun of an adolescent, who does not meet the societal expectations that have been set for women, until a tragic event happens. Another superb example of this negative concept would be, “Georgiana,” said he, “has it never occurred to you that the mark upon your cheek might be removed?” (Hawthorne 341) This direct quote comes from the short story “The Birth-Mark” and implies that appearance is a great example of a societal expectation. Society shapes the lives of many women by implying the importance of behavior, appearance, and success. Many women are judged because they do not meet these expectations that we have set in society.
With the constant fear of ridicule and discrimination, we still try and define ourselves, though we are always under the society’s scope. Marge Piercy, in her poem “Barbie Doll”, gives us a look at the influence of our surroundings and how something as innocent as a doll can trigger these insecurities. Our strive for acceptance and “perfection” can cause major emotional damage on anyone who identifies as a woman. Young girls look at these depictions of “perfect” bodies, such as a barbie doll for example, and compare themselves. In the poem “Barbie Doll”, Piercy talks about a young girl who she described as “...healthy, tested and intelligent...” (247) but, she was picked on by peers who said she had “a great big nose and fat legs.” This led her to apologize for her body, something no one should ever have to do, as well faking a smile, dieting and exercising.
In Rachel Simmons article “Selfies Are Good for Girls”, she claim that self portrait increases the self-esteem level of teenage girls as their conscious narcissism rises. She assert that as girls get older their confidence level decreases because stereotyping in society increases along with judging people based on their outer appearances. To show addition, Simmons’s say if girls “act too confident” they will be isolated. She claim that young women denied compliments with intense rejection because they want to hear more of the compliments. Simmons emphasis that “selfie is tiny pulse of girl pride - a shout-out to the self.
Fundamentally, the perception of their body alters in response to stimulus regardless of the lack of physical changes in their actual form. In one of their hypotheses, they sought to show that when young women are subjected to television programs and commercials laden with thin ideal images and situations that it temporarily increases the viewer 's body dissatisfaction and depression. Their results were paradoxical; they concluded that the viewers saw the images of these women as an attainable ideal and essentially a goal that they could work towards, giving them hope and a slight euphoria. In addition to this, Swami and Smith (2012) reference another study from 2009 in which viewers became more depressed when watching advertisements featuring women presented as being more realistic than most models used in television. Those who performed the study suggest results are due to “ the extent that images of average sized models focus viewers’ attention on their own bodies” which “may trigger a fear of fatness among female viewers.”