Female Body Image And The Mass Media

2161 words - 9 pages

As Samantha Murray sat in the audience, she thought to herself:
I suddenly became acutely aware of my own fat bulges and folds. I imagined every eye in the room on me, shaking their heads in pity, revulsion and even morbid curiosity. I pulled my shirt surreptitiously away from the bulges of my belly and my hips, trying to separate the appearance from the reality. I shifted in my chair, and felt my cheeks burn hot and my stomach churn... And yet I was ashamed. I was aware of the disgust my body inspired, its complete unacceptability and invisibility in the sexual domain, apart from as a figure of ridicule. I felt hot tears sting my eyes, and I knew I had to get out. I squeezed my wide hips between the rows of chairs, and fled the room. (238)
In modern day society, many adolescent girls are self-conscious of their bodies, like Samantha Murray. In “Female Body Image and the Mass Media: Perspectives on How Women Internalize the Ideal Beauty Standard,” Kasey Serdar writes, the standards of the woman’s body are visibly set through forms of media; furthermore, the pressures are high to achieve these unrealistic looks (1). A plethora of self-esteem issues result from the media’s portrayal of unrealistically thin models. In addition, today’s society places a significant amount of importance on what the eyes perceive, rather than what is on the inside, as the article “Factors That May Contribute to Eating Disorders” states (1). As a result, eating disorders now begin at a younger age, since girls grow up viewing the “ideal body” as skinny; furthermore, images in the media affect the self-esteem of women so immensely that many develop eating disorders after spending time viewing these unrealistic images. Women should not feel the need to change due to images; instead, the media should change the display of images. Due to pressures from the media to look like a supermodel and the objectification of women, young girls grow up viewing this perception to be correct, and, as a result, many acquire eating disorders.
The media set the standard for all women to be thin. According to the “Media, Body Image, and Eating Disorders,” “We live in a media-saturated world and do not control the message” (1). The effect of media increased dramatically throughout the last decade, thus creating a world filled with unattainable ideals. The media created the perfect woman: tall, Caucasian, and blonde (Serdar 2). Women today bleach their hair, wear heels to appear taller, and hit the tanning beds for the perfect bronze skin, although all of these actions are unhealthy and may result in health issues. Even the consequences due to the exposure to UV rays do not stop women from attempting to be perfect. Although the ideal woman grew smaller, the shape of normal women increased throughout the years; therefore, making the ideals harder to reach (Serdar 2). Although the image of the ideal woman evolves over time, these harsh standards cause both physical and mental issues. Cash and...

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