According to Finley (2012) “average young woman’s perception of her body is fat”, we live in an era where perfection is the requirement to be accepted by society. An era where body image is so important for anything you do, people judge others by their looks rather than abilities or interests. Our role models are no longer an inspiration because of their ideas or contributions, a role model now days are those who can fit perfectly in body suits or tight dresses. We aspire for thinness and perfection, so, what is this thing that is making today’s youth in our forever quest for beauty? Media has been present since long time ago, they presented the ultimate fashion or the ideal body.
The majority of modern society’s advertising conveys an oppressive message to American women. In advertisement campaigns, women are typically only considered and marketed as beautiful if they fit a very specific mold that society has created. Women who don’t fit this mold of being feminine, thin, and pretty are shamed and encouraged to change. However, it isn’t just the “ugly” women who are shamed in the media. There is a consistent message that runs throughout advertisements that suggests that women are lesser than men, and that they exist solely for the benefit of men.
This lead to very masculine bodies for the men and thin bodies for women. Later on the beauty ideal gets more influenced by the political behavior in a country. In the renaissance people started to revolt against the religious government and did not pay any attention to their bodies anymore. And a lot later in the 1930s and 1940s politicians as Hitler choose a beauty ideal. In addition to that, it is a fact that economics always play a large role in finding a beauty ideal.
This causes women and especially young girls to see themselves and use their bodies as objects. The sexualization of women is apparent in all aspects of media, but I will be focusing on music, advertisement, and film. In our society, women are portrayed as highly sexualized beings that evoke feelings of fantasy and desire that are shown in all aspects of media, but is perhaps most often used in the production of advertisements. For example, we can see the use of women in Axe Deodorant ads. In the Axe ads there is a male model that is accompanied by an attractive female, who seems to be attracted to the male simply because of his deodorant.
Our society is consumed by the fantasy and perfection of the idealized body. This constant fixation on physical perfection has created unreasonable beauty standards for women, ones we cannot possibly achieve on our own. Such standards permeate all forms of popular media, particularly fashion magazines and advertisements. Women are bombarded with the notion that we must be thin in order to be desirable. These images project an
Advertisers sell their products in a that objects women, because it catches the attention of a male consumer, but it also charms the female consumer because it can make her look like the ideal figure of a perfect woman. The irony in this idea is that the “perfect women” or the ideal woman with the unblemished skin, perfect figure and perfect hair does not exist. Kilbourne also stated in her talk series that “women learn from an early age that they have to have a perfect figure. I personally do not think it is possible for a woman to possess all the perfect characteristics and features at the same time. All throughout different kinds of advertisements on television, magazines, etc., our culture has been molded to believe that there is a such thing as a perfect woman which is nearly impossible to become no matter how hard one tries.
This is due to the fact that, while human nature evolves over time, the core of human actions and interactions remains constant. Modern society is infatuated with the idea of perfection. Magazines often present women on the covers with flawless hair, makeup, and bodies for common people to gaze upon. These women in the magazines are often retouched using the technology of Photoshop to edit out any “flaws” that, already beautiful, people have. Society has become obsessed with beauty and perfection, creating an aesthetic for people to strive for in their daily lives.
In addition, according to (Donatella 2012 page 355). “the images and celebrities in the media set standards for what we find attractive, leading some people to go to dangerous extremes to look like them” because celebrities are known to set standards, it often makes people who do not look like them, to develop a negative body image. Also, most media advertisements tend to use “touch up” photos or photoshopped pictures of celebrities in their adverts. For example, most magazines use photoshopped pictures of celebrities which are unrealistic to advertise products. These media advertisements tend to portray rare looks for the kind of people they are aimed at or what they want people to look like.
Through the media, all women the world over are exposed to the Western ideal of beautiful women with slender, ageless bodies (Poorani, 2012:1). According to Cohan (2001:324) advertising often develops its own values, artificial or false, of whatever is good for the consumer. He states that advertising
Modern advertisements in the media show a single definition of beauty, which is typically impossible to achieve by the average person. When a child grows up around these pictures of what beauty is they start to believe that these pictures and people are normal and are what everyone should look like. When this child grows up and realizes that they do not look like the people they see in magazines and on TV they begin to believe that they look wrong and that they are not beautiful. This can lead to many issues such as eating disorders and depression. People will sometimes go to extreme measures just to look like the people they see on TV, which is not an easy task.