Millions of women every day look at women’s fitness magazines that portray the “ideal” body, and every year spend billions of dollars on diet and exercise advice as well as advertisements to put in these magazines. The images and advertisements are very unrealistic; selling body dissatisfaction to readers and the ultimate message being sent to women is that unless they have this perfect “ideal” body, they are not good enough. So, before we move further, what are body image and the “ideal” body?
Body image is the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body. It is basically how you feel about your body, and includes your perception, imagination, emotions, and physical sensations. What then, is an ideal body? The answer is that it will vary from person to person and as such, there is no precise definition (Body Image).
Weight loss and dieting are two very important issues that women struggle with. Many people desire to be thin in our critical world. While being fit and thin increasingly defines the meaning of attractiveness these days, women will go to great lengths to accomplish such ‘beauty’, allowing self-objectification and body dissatisfaction to take over. In order to understand this, it is important to recognize the motivations and effects of women’s fitness magazines.
Women’s fitness magazines have gained popularity among women. Many women internalize the images they see in these magazines and experience a need of approval from others. These magazines, which focus on healthy living and staying in shape, promote dieting tips, exercise tutorials, and reviews in which women have lost weight, encourage women to work hard and become exactly what they see. The health information communicated to women shows them what they could be if they take the fitness magazine seriously.
By exploring women’s fitness magazines and the effects that they have on women is important because it exposes potential risks posed to women that may lead to unhealthy behaviors and lifestyles. The focus of these magazines and the behaviors that result from such exposure to these “ideals” may contribute to women who are discontent and have a higher risk for depression.
So, how is it that women’s fitness magazines have been able to shape women’s view of fitness and the “ideal” body? Flip through the pages of most women’s fitness magazines, and you will find some beautiful skinny star icons that make women feel like they need to be prettier in order to be noticed. The images portrayed by these magazines tend to make people strive to be someone else’s idea of perfect while ignoring their own ideals. The images of women’s fitness magazines that are now considered beautiful and desirable in our society haven’t always been that way. Up until the late 1800’s, a round plump woman dominated the ideal body image, and until the early 1900’s, a woman with extra weight was a sign of good health and wealth. In the early 1900’s, is when our culture saw a shift from the round...