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Essay Media Portrayal of Women and Its Effects

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Throughout the century, the ideal image of a woman has changed drastically, which can be directly attributed to the powerful persuasion of media. This ideal image has transformed from a voluptuous, size 14, 1950’s Marilyn Monroe to a 5’9, 100 pound, 1990’s Kate Moss. The most shocking aspect is specifically what young girls are now doing to achieve this “Kate Moss” image. Through the utilization of advertisements and stars on the big screen, this female portrayal directly targets the physical and mental well-being of females in cultures across the globe.
Throughout history, typical characteristics of the ideal woman have fluctuated between a muscular, curvaceous physique and a small, narrow-waisted physique. In colonial times, women played a crucial role in family survival. At this time, women commonly promoted themselves as physically strong, able, and fertile; however, after the turn of the century, it was more desirable for a woman to be small, frail, and tiny-waisted. Social status became a major factor in this movement. Upper-class men would seek to marry women with these characteristics because the more fragile and unable women were to work, the more justified these plantation owners were to own slaves (Derenne 258). This point in history showed some of the most drastic measures taken to achieve this ideal image, where women appeared sickly and were exceptionally prone to headaches. Finishing schools across the country were teaching young women of status how to properly faint. Some women even went as far as to having their ribs removed – keeping in mind that this was a time of poor medical technologies. Corsets were also at their peak of popularity, which constricted women so greatly that they became short of breath and – in...


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...ng women of all colors, shapes, and sizes in their advertisements in order to positively impact the market. Graphic designer, Nickolay Lamm, is also pushing for realistic standards of beauty by creating a "normal Barbie" named Lammily. With the help of these major companies, a reversal of the bodily standard may be in the cards; but with the help of the consumer, anything may be possible.


Works Cited

Derenne, Jennifer L., and Eugene V. Beresin. "Body Image, Media, and Eating Disorders." Academic Psychiatry 30.3 (2006): 257-61. ProQuest. Web. 18 Mar. 2014.
Durham, Meenakshi Gigi. The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do about It. Woodstock, NY: Overlook, 2008. Print.
Sams, Leroy B., and Janet A. Keels, eds. Handbook on Body Image: Gender Differences, Sociocultural Influences & Health Implications. S.l.: Nova Science, 2013. Print.


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