WGS 1000: Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
December 9, 2013
American Notions of Beauty
In the U.S. we are surrounded by the images of “beautiful” or what society and media considers “beautiful” to be. The media showcases a particular body type and expects everyone to strive to fulfill that body type but, the images of ultra-thin, young, large breasted, white women are far from true. These images we see are either airbrushed, computer enhanced or completely false (Shaw and Lee 213). Today’s models weigh about 23 percent less than the average woman and this fact alone sends many women into despair (Shaw and Lee 213). It’s not just the women who are trying to live up to idealized images that the media puts out there, it is men as well. When it comes to how media will objectify women and men we have a double standard. Women are portrayed as if their worth is their beauty and men’s is not. As we learned in class, when viewing Killing Us Softly 4, women are seen as nothing but a sex symbol. Every advertisement that was shown had a partially dressed woman selling everything from jeans to perfume. This is a great example of objectification “seeing a body as an object and separate from its context” (Shaw and Lee 216). It is very rare that you will come across an advertisement with a half-naked man selling anything. In our book, they talk about the four points of The “Beauty” Ideal. The first point is that female beauty is changeable. They say that what is considered beautiful in one society is different from standards in others (Shaw and Lee 220). For example women’s scars, face tattoo, large ear lobes and even big women are consider sexy in other cultures but in America that would be looked down on because we strive for perfection. The second point concerning beauty is that such ideals reflect various relations of power in society (Shaw and Lee 220). This is a perfect example of our culture. Most people will look to actresses and actors...
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