Today young women are greatly influenced by the pressures to have
the ideal body type. In "The Flesh and the Devil" Kim Chernin discusses
how American cultural values and the concept of the ideal body type
influence women. Chernin's attitude towards this is negative, she
believes the thin body types shown in advertising and media lead
women to see themselves as not good enough. She tells how women
strive for the ideal body so much that it has a terrible impact on their
lives (366-373). This is true in many aspects of young women's lives
today and can be seen in everyday society.
In high school is was easy seeing the huge impact our cultural values
have on young women. In the locker room while changing for gym you
can hear a lot about how the girls feel about themselves. Chernin talks
about an experience in a locker room, "The woman in the locker room
who swings out at her image in the mirror, the little girls who are afraid
of the coming of adolescence to their bodies, the woman who admires the
slenderness of the anorexic girl" (368). In the locker room I would hear
conversations where they would say how they thought they were so fat
and ugly and how they were so unhappy about their bodies. Some girls
didn't even want to change in front of the others because they were so
embarrassed of their bodies. Also, they would talk about how they
wanted so desperately to have a body like a certain actress or model.
Another place at school where I saw young women suffering
themselves all because of the need to be thin was at lunch. At lunch
there were girls who would hardly eat a thing and others that didn't eat
at all. When asked why they weren't eating they would say it's because
they aren't hungry and some just told the truth and told us they were
trying to lose weight. There were poor girls who starved themselves
everyday just because they felt the need to look the "right" way. There
were a few that were known to be anorexic and bulimic. We saw them
everyday in school destroying their bodies, and for what reason? Just
because of the pressure society put on them to have the ideal body.
The effects of the cultural values of the ultimate body...