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The Idealistic Portrayal Of Women Essay

1145 words - 5 pages

Still to this day, the words “You are the winner of this year’s Miss American Pageant,” sounds through this nations ears as they witness another “perfect” woman crowned into the face of American beauty. We witness these winners enter into the stereotypical ideal of what a women should ultimately look and aspire to be. This image, who many still feel exists in modern day, however was amplified in the mid-1900s. Along with beauty pageants winners, women were put up against the image of unrealistic characters like Barbie dolls and exposed to Hollywood icons like Marilyn Monroe. All of which were a part of further creating that time period’s idea of how women should look and act and ...view middle of the document...

One of the most influential aspects of the competition was the 1948 Miss American Pageant contract. It stated that in order to participate, women must be between ages eighteen and twenty eight and they must be of white race. Just in those few guidelines it was clear that only a small percent of women even could be considered ideal and the rest were left to be ashamed of their race, age and body image.
Alongside the message that the Miss American Pageant created, a new item became quite popular in the 1950s, this was the Barbie doll. Commercials aired nationwide targeting young girls and promoting yet another fantasy. It just so happened that the Barbie doll wasn’t an event that only happened once a year like pageants, it was in the hands of Americans every day. Little girls wrapped there small hands around waists of dolls that would be considered sickly thin if they were human. They combed the dolls straight hair and dressed them in expensive looking clothing. The doll itself created an image that girls would try to become, but it just was not realistic. They created a message that in order to be beautiful like Barbie you needed to be white, afford fancy clothes liker her and be a part of a high class society in order to attend pretentious parties.
A popular Barbie commercial of the 1950s told little girls that they should grow up to be just like Barbie and made it more convincing by using a young voice to describe the Barbie. The commercial showed a well put together women who represented America’s conservative views on how women should look and dress. One example from the commercial of a popular idea was the Barbie in a wedding dress. Not only did America want little girls to look and be of the same class as Barbie, but they expected them to get married. The idea of the wedding dress Barbie was very consistent with the popular culture of America. During that time it was expected for women to get married and be a part of an all American family, so the wedding dress stood as a symbol for those social guidelines.
It was clear that American society had created many expectations for women, however as the 1950s progressed the eyes of America started to experience a different popular women portrayal. This was the...

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