Beauty Re Imagined Essay

1274 words - 6 pages

While women have made significant strides in gaining more freedom and rights in the past decade, society and culture at large continue to place a great emphasis on how women look. Certain standards of feminine beauty are presented in many different forms of popular media, bombarding women with images that portray what is considered to be the "ideal body”. Consequently, the importance of physical appearance is emphasized early on which leads to concern over appearance related issues. Such issues often surface in the early stages of a female’s development, and continues on throughout her life. While trying to live up to the specific beauty standards that are proliferated through the media by society and culture, a woman’s life is often impacted drastically both physically and psychologically.
What remains similar between the bodies flaunted across the media, is that they all possess popular standards of some kind of objective beauty.  Women have an aptness to fall prey to advertisers and somehow unknowingly accept the creation of such standards for a woman’s body that is unrealistic for the majority of society. Slender, good-looking models are so prominent in today’s culture that chronic exposure to them reinforces a discrepancy for women between their actual body and the ideal body. Media fuels this unrealistic image and convinces women that in order to be accepted and considered beautiful, you better be fat-less, have silky hair and a flawless complexion. Unrealistic media images of women are so prevalent that it seems that females who fulfill such a standard are more the norm than the exception. The Cultivation theory argues that images that portray women who match the sociocultural ideal of beauty are extremely prevalent in popular media, and that repetitive exposure to such images influences women's abilities to understand that such standards are unrealistic (Chandler). As a result, there is a cumulative effect over time in which women adopt this unrealistic beauty as reality. Women come to view other women who are slender to be “normal” and determine that those who do not live up to this idea are “abnormal”. The reality is that a woman’s susceptibility to the cultural phenomenon of perfection is essentially not only based on the images we see depicted through all the different forms of the media, but also on our own psychology.
Numerous media mishaps show this negative portrayal of beauty. For example, in 2009, a clothing company called Ralph Lauren released an ad that spiked controversy between fashion and body image. In the advertisement, the model appeared to have a smaller waist than the size of her head. When the company decided that the model’s size 4 waist was too big, they used Photoshop to scale down her waist, resulting in a photo editing failure (Klein). Even though the company apologized for the incident, it is evident that advertisers everywhere use toxic tactics to promote the ideal body image. Another incident where, women...

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