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Cultural Pressures To Be Thin Essay

1080 words - 4 pages

Have you ever taken a second to compare the size of men and women today to the sizes years ago? Recently there is a huge new trend of becoming as thin and fit as possible and thinking this is how one becomes beautiful. No one actually knows where this idea has emerged from. In the past big has been known as being healthy and beautiful. Take for instance Marilyn Monroe, she was the pin up girl for many men and wasn't exactly thin to today's standards. Today's celebrities wear sizes 0 - 2 and are the supposed poster girls of what beautiful looks like. There are many factors that are causing people young and old to get caught up in the new health and fitness craze. One of these factors affecting almost everyone is the media. Celebrities are setting the standards for the new thin trend.

In Hollywood the pressures for actresses to get and stay thin is the source of a shocking and alarming trend. Females, especially celebrities, have become tinier and skinnier then ever. The look of being `skinny' has changed from being simply health conscious to a dangerous obsession. This sudden obsession with thinness hasn't always been around as said by Sandy Szwarc, "At no time in history have women been so pressured to be thin" (Dying to). This new fad started in the late 90's out of no where. In the past, big full bodied women have been considered beautiful, while in today's day and age the public is influenced by the media to strive to become as thin and fit as possible. Calista Flockhart and Lara Flynn Boyle were the first of many celebrities to take thinness obsession to the new extreme. This new weight fixation has set the bar higher than ever, and in turn, created a dark side of `fitness." Roberta Seid brings up a very good point in her essay "Too Close to the Bone." She states, "Our culture is swept up in a web of peculiar and distorted beliefs about beauty, health, virtue, eating and appetite. We have elevated the pursuit of a lean, fat-free body into a new religion" (Seid, 498). Her point is trying to bring across how people are beginning to live their lives around being as thin and fit as physically possible. They eat breathe and sleep this new fitness craze and follow all the rules as if they were the 10 commandments. There is no clear reason why the media is promoting this extreme slenderness other than many people are so deathly afraid of becoming fat that they would do anything to avoid it. Advertisements are promoting unhealthy weight loss and crazy gimmicks such as diet pills. Despite almost universal criticism following weight-loss programs and an epidemic of dangerous eating disorders, people continue to spend billions of dollars yearly on weight-loss products and services. This unrelenting pressure to be thin is driven by diet, fashion, cosmetic, fitness and pharmaceutical industries.

These industries promote their products with financial rewards and unreachable expectation for all, especially women. The fashion industry affects...

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