We, the American public are hit from every imaginable direction every waking moment of our lives by slick advertising agencies trying to coerce us into or tell us why we need to buy their products. Their products will make us happier or thinner, or prettier. The advertisers often use the picture of youth and vitality so that the public will associate that particular product or service with being young and beautiful. They do this because of course in our society youth and beauty are to be coveted. Everyone would like to be forever young and beautiful or for as long as they can anyway. So, everyone is trying to look younger or wants to look younger. The things that we can associate with youth are obvious. We see the picture of youth and beauty everywhere. Look in any magazine, Watch TV, see billboards, everywhere you turn we see young, beautiful people. Youth is synonymous with beauty so little wonder why when you read this bumper sticker “few women admit their age, few men act it” a lot of women won’t divulge their age. To do so would be to admit they are perhaps older than they look or if we were to know their real age we might say something (hopefully to ourselves) like “jeez, she looks a lot older than that!”
The media is really the one at work that shapes a lot of our attitudes and beliefs. They might not necessarily be healthy attitudes and beliefs but they are the ones that have been shoved in front of our faces from the day we were born. Believe me, they know how powerful and influential they (the media) can be.
The most disturbing thing to me about advertising is the ideal female body they use. It is absolutely tight, contained, bolted down. Being thin is not enough. Women need to be in shape as well. Obtaining that body becomes a matter of self-control. It illustrates to me that they are saying thin women are in control. They have mastered the discipline of dieting and exercise. It is the fat women who are not in control. Fat has become associated with laziness and lack of self-discipline.
Of the statistics that I ran across while researching this topic said that eighty percent of girls between the ages of eight and twelve are on a diet. The number one wish of most women and girls is to loose weight. Media presents images that tell woman and girls that acceptance means being unnaturally thin. The average fashion model, whose image we are bombarded with, weighs twenty-three percent less than the average American woman. Twenty years ago, the average fashion model weighed only eight percent less. Only five percent of all women are born with the ideal fashion model body, which of course leaves the other ninety-five percent inundated with images of only the five- percent ideal type body.
Advertising uses a lot of different techniques to show the public the perfect female image. Body doubles and computer retouching are two examples of how advertisers are able to “doctor” images. The majority of women we see in...