Body Image

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A Real Woman

Dictonary.com defines a female as: “Female [fee-mayl]- (n.): a person bearing two X chromosomes in the cell nuclei and normally having a vagina, a uterus and ovaries, and developing at puberty a relatively rounded body and enlarged breasts and retaining a beardless face; a girl or woman.” Mass media generates the picture perfect image of a woman. The “perfect” woman is a generalized fantasy derived from media and how society shaped the media. But what aspects exactly make a female a woman? The fashion industry might say it the exterior build or the way we look. Feminist might say a woman is shown through the spirit of her interior or her heart. Women should set aside their needs to look beautiful on the outside and look at what’s truly beautiful in the inside. `So many women these days are constantly obsessed about their looks. Women are heavily focused on the way they look due to the endorsements by television ads, billboard ads, magazines, models, or celebrities that look “perfect”. But how did this negative outlook on body image start? It all started with a magazine and its sleek advertisement. They first printed in the 1940s and 1950s. Its roots were derived from magazines like, Vanity Fair and Vogue from the 1920s. These magazines began to publish ads and articles of fashion while portraying women as these high class skinny flawless human beings. It is said that the average woman is 5’4” and 140 lbs. while the average model is 5’11” and 120lbs. Statistics like this stop to make me wonder, how does one female reach being so “perfect” and that skinny? Just twenty years ago models weighed 8% less than the average women, these days models weigh 23% less than the average women. “As the years went by, the woman in the magazine became less realistic and more idealistic.” (Wilson, 2009) The fashion industry perceives skinny as beautiful. Just recently, Vogue promised to not “knowingly” use girls younger than 16 years of age. But they broke their promise when Vogue China used 15 years old, Ondria Hardin for one of their shows. Also breaking that promise again, the 2007 Council of Fashion Designers of America, when designer Marc Jacobs, included 14-year-old, Hardin in his 2012 fall fashion show. The article simply said “The fashion industry simply loves a skinny young girl” (Givhan, 2012).

That statement is almost a fact, models are told either they have to be really skinny or plus size. There is no in between option for being a model. So reasons why average women feel depression when they see a model is because there is no relatable connection being made. A 1995 study found that, three minutes spent looking at models in a fashion magazine caused 70% of women to feel depressed, guilty, and ashamed. False images of how a woman should look are causing women depression anxiety, which leads to these women trying to lose weight. “ The beauty ideal in American culture is: thin.” (Ossola, 2010). Losing weight in the fashion industry is very common among models. Models are usually prone to being diagnosed with an eating disorder. But models are not the only ones being diagnosed with eating disorders; one out of every four college aged women suffer from an eating disorder. Bulimia nervosa and Anorexia nervosa are commonly the two leading eating disorders women are diagnosed with every year. Bulimia is when one would start a cycle of binge eating followed by purging or vomiting. Anorexia is when one would control their body weight by starvation, purging, and binging, excessive exercise or diet pills.

Both these eating disorders are getting so bad, most young girls as young as 8 are being diagnosed with an eating disorder. A majority of young girls are more afraid of getting fat than they are of nuclear war, getting cancer, or losing their parents. 12-year-old girls are going on diets because they believe what your weight determines your worth (Ossola, 2010). The media is aiming their products of endorsement so...
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