Fueling Insecurity: Americas Race To Perfection

1730 words - 7 pages

Throughout time, people have sought out admiration and acceptance from their peers, especially based off of their physical appearance. For decades, they have spent millions of dollars on beauty products and surgical procedures to achieve what they perceive as beauty. The American Media has assured them that they will never be beautiful enough. Young girls have grown obsessed with their images and, as a result, have gone to extremes to achieve model-like appearances. Americans will always attempt to chase perfection- an impossible task.
The media has had a vast influence on our lives. Everywhere we go, we are bombarded with a plethora of advertisements, screeching out at us to purchase their products. The medias peak demographic to target are teenagers, who are proven to “spend 31 hours a week watching television, three hours a week watching movies, four hours a week reading magazines…[etc.]” (Newson). Each of these activities is about “Ten hours and 45 minutes of media consumption a day” (Newson). Through advertising, they are also projected through Fowles’s various appeals, such as to sex, autonomy, and power. With research, Fowles has discovered methods in which the media has used these appeals in advertising. These advertisements depict the ideal of perfection that Americans have sought out for decades. The announcements that showcase beauty, however, are simply delusions.
Such delusions are showcased through every advertisement we have viewed. Photoshop is one method through which we are fooled into believing that the model in the photo looks exactly like the image in real life. Such unnecessary measures have resulted in a vast decline in individuals who believe that they are truly beautiful. Many women are damaged by these images, revealing that they make them feel extremely insecure about their own appearances. It has also been shown that “33% of women . . . also feel the body they aspire towards is not possible for them to achieve” (One Poll). The American Medical Association has even shown concern, further stating that:

Advertisers commonly alter photographs to enhance the appearance of models' bodies, and such alterations can contribute to unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image – especially among impressionable children and adolescents. A large body of literature links exposure to media-propagated images of unrealistic body image to eating disorders and other child and adolescent health problems. (American Medical Association)

By using such programs, this advertising has greatly weakened the self esteem of many Americans. However, not only women are affected by such inaccuracies; both sexes alike face false perceptions of the body and what it means to be beautiful. Females have been told they must be a size zero, have a face free of blemishes, and pin straight hair to be considered beautiful. Males, however, have learned that by developing toned, muscular bodies they can develop more confidence in social scenarios...

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