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Media and Body Image Essay

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We hear sayings everyday such as “Looks don’t matter; beauty is only skin-deep”, yet we live in a decade that contradicts this very notion. If looks don’t matter, then why are so many women harming themselves because they are not satisfied with how they look? If looks don’t matter, then why is the media using airbrushing to hide any flaws that one has? This is because with the media establishing unattainable standards for body perfection, American Women have taken drastic measures to live up to these impractical societal expectations. “The ‘body image’ construct tends to comprise a mixture of self-perceptions, ideas and feelings about one’s physical attributes. It is linked to self-esteem and to the individual’s emotional stability” (Wykes 2). As portrayed throughout all aspects of our media, whether it is through the television, Internet, or social media, we are exploited to a look that we wish we could have; a toned body, long legs, and nicely delineated six-pack abs. Our society promotes a body image that is “beautiful” and a far cry from the average woman’s size 12, not 2. The effects are overwhelming and we need to make more suitable changes as a way to help women not feel the need to live up to these unrealistic standards that have been self-imposed throughout our society.
The plain truth, however, is that things have not always been this way. If you take a look to back in the 1950s, the iconic sex symbol Marilyn Monroe epitomized the typical standard of beauty as she flaunted a size 14. “She was every man’s dream girl and the envy of every other woman. She was beautiful, charming and exuded the aura of an angel—or so we hear”(Waters 2). We are constantly evolving our thoughts of what is ideal and because of this, there is ...


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...ization of the Thin Ideal, And Perceptions of Attractiveness and Thinness in Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty." International Journal of Advertising 29.4 (2010): 643-668. Business Source Premier. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.
Gibson, Megan. "NewsFeed." Thinterest When Social Networks and Body Image Collide Comments. Time.com, 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
Hass, Cheryl J., et al. "An Intervention for the Negative Influence of Media on Body Esteem." College Student Journal 46.2 (2012): 405-418. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.
Heldman, Caroline. "The Sexy Lie: Caroline Heldman at TEDxYouth@SanDiego." YouTube. YouTube, 20 Jan. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Waters, Preston. "The Evolution of the Female Body." Elite Daily. Elite Daily, 2 Mar. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
Wykes, Maggie, and Barrie Gunter. The Media and Body Image: If Looks Could Kill. London: SAGE, 2005. Print.



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