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Societal Pressure To Be Thin Essay

2245 words - 9 pages

“To be happy and successful, you must be thin,” is a message women are given at a very young age (Society and Eating Disorders). In fact, eating disorders are still continuously growing because of the value society places on being thin. Why do women feel the pressure from society to strive for the “ideal” figure? According to Sheldon’s research on, “Pressure to be Perfect: Influences on College Students’ Body Esteem,” the ideal figure of an average female portrayed in the media is 5’11” and 120 pounds. In reality, the average American woman weighs 140 pounds at 5’4”. The societal pressures come from television shows, diet commercials, social media, family, peers, magazines and models. However, most females do not take into account retouching photos with the beauty of photo-shop and airbrushing. This ongoing issue to be thin will always be a concern because of the increase in eating disorders and body dissatisfaction throughout the world.
Should a female not feel insecure with her body when she is comfortable in her own skin whether she weighs 130 pounds or 150 pounds at 5’5”? The thin-ideal image of women is normally represented in the media typically fifteen percent below the average weight of a woman (Hawkins, et al. 36). Researchers have also found that fashion models are about ninety-eight percent thinner than the average American woman (Strahan, et al. 288). According to Rehab’s study of the evolution of the female figure over one hundred years, “The body shapes of the most admired models have remained consistently slimmer than that of the average American woman.” Due to the significant increase in mass media throughout the twentieth century of the United States, there has been a noteworthy impact on the popular image of women. A woman being dissatisfied with their body is a everyday trend around the world where as girls as young as six-years-old is commonly unhappy with their body as well. The result of this negative body image culture is causing the massive spread of, “eating disorders and lifelong unhappiness towards one’s body” (Women's Body Image and BMI). The most vulnerable population of developing eating problems is adolescents and young people. Research statistics have shown that 1 out of 100 American adolescents are starving themselves, sometimes to death, and 4 out of 100 binge and purge or use laxatives to help sustain their weight (Sheldon 277).
From the 1900’s to 1910’s featured the era of the “Gibson Girl.” In that time period, the ideal figure of a woman was slender, tall, voluptuous bust, wide hips. They were also praised if they were in shape and in good health. The “Gibson Girl” transitioned to the “Flapper” in the 1920’s where as Flapper’s were immature, young women who were described as independent and reckless. Their particular lifestyle represented a refusal of the Victorian style. The ideal figure in this era was small breasts, no curves and short hair. It was ideal to have a flat chest, dark make-up, tan skin, and...

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