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The Portrayal Of Female Body In The Media

1284 words - 5 pages

It is virtually impossible to spend a day consuming media without hearing the troubling veracity of how the portrayal of female body in the media. This portrayal influences some females view themselves. Throughout the past century, the ideal body form ranged from the boyish looking flapper girl, to the hourglass, to today’s thin ideal. Thankfully, a new advertising movement embraces the female body in different shapes, colors, and sizes. This development has powerful supporters such as actress Jennifer Lawrence, who is known for refusing to lose weight for roles. Her reasoning is to encourage her fans that they do not have to squeeze into the ideal thin body type ("Jennifer Lawrence”). Lawrence’s outlook is supported by “The American Medical Association has decided to take a stand against rampant photo retouching, declaring the practice detrimental to your health” ("5 Celebrities”). Certainly celebrity endorsements can inspire change, but there are other obstacles to overcome before magazine covers, theatrical posters, and lingerie advertisements show the female body unedited.
Today’s technology makes enhancing and editing easier than in the decades before. Even though companies are ridiculed for their unrealistic representations of the female body, there has been little progress for advancement in realistic representation. Perhaps, this is because magazine editors purposely intend their covers not to resemble reality. Two Self Magazine editors explained that, “Covers shouldn’t reflect reality, but ‘inspire women to want to be their best’” this statement occurred after Self’s September 2009 controversy with Kelly Clarkson (Hartmann 1). Recently, Ellen DeGeneres attacked Target in a comedic way in response to their 2014 swimsuit advertisement scandal. Undoubtedly, media cannot be fully blamed for the drastic measures females take for their physical appearance such as eating disorders and unhealthy amounts of exercise.
However, media do have a powerful correlation on human reactions. The thin ideal encourages some girls to diet or skip meals, “25 percent of college-age women engage in binging and purging as a weight-management technique” ("Eating Disorders"). Furthermore, in a survey of 185 college age females over half felt pressure to be a certain size or weight ("Eating Disorders"). The dangers of how media can impact females is additionally mentioned in the Media Effects Research, “To the extent that there is a perceived mismatch, young girls might start down a road that could lead to various eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia nervosa. Such a path might jeopardize the health, or even life, of young girls” (Sparks 241). Fortunately, one company is challenging the thin ideal in their “Real” campaign. In January of 2014, American Eagle’s lingerie brand, Aerie, launched its latest advertisements, “We want every girl to feel good about who they are and what they look like, inside out” ("Aerie Launches”). This...

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