BritLit, period 5
28 March 2011
If looks could kill
For most people in order to feel good they must look good, however for some people looking good doesn’t cut it they have to be perfect. In our minds every one of us has an idealized body image which comes from “a mixture of ideas and feeling about one’s physical appearance…linked to self esteem and emotional stability” (Maggie 2). Factors that influence ones self- perceptions are the 21st century media, peers, and family basically our main social surroundings.
All these factors influence us whether we know it or now, so it’s only natural for girls to look up to super models, film stars, and athletes. Wanting to be just like them, dressing like them, buying what they do and overall looking perfectly flawless just like them. Even though it’s important for some occupations to have the perfect body image like models, athletes and movie stars, it’s virtually impossible for an average person to have a perfect body image because of psychological issues and physical problems such as anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN).
The Media is responsible for the negative effects on men and women who are influenced by unrealistic images, which include perfect skin, pulp lips, breasts, hips and a slim waist and for men idly, a lean and muscular physique. An individual is exposed to many different types of perfect images once this occurs, he/she starts comparing themselves with these images. In other words this comparison starts a self image process made up in their mind about themselves the “media images and self identity go together… media affects how one sees themselves and in some cases it affects women negatively” (Maggie 54). If girls don’t look similar to what’s posted in magazines and up on billboards they aren’t incredibly happy with their figure, because according to the media it’s not perfect. For this reason woman become depressed, stressed and unhappy.
Through advertising women are told what they should look like, this image is mostly based on what the majority of men find attractive. During the early post war years in the 1950’s and 1960’s women were seen as the perfect skilled housewife, who kept everything spotless. They were encouraged to play the faultless duty even “advertisements portrayed women as decorative, dependent on men and primarily concerned with personal beauty” (Maggie 43). However the range of different identities available to women did expand the idea of women moving into the male world, in a trouser suit working in office buildings. None the less women are still labeled through the media, which clearly tells women how they should be and what’s expected of them. Anne Marie is a psychotherapist who offers counseling for people who suffer from eating disorders; she states “it’s true, more teenage girls than ever are affected by compulsion to achieve for themselves a degree of thinness they see every day in models and celebrities” (106). One of the most influential media forms are women’s beauty and fashion magazines, women see models, and actors who are less curvaceous and thinner. Studies show three in four teens in the United States are influenced through magazines .This media representation is wrong due to the fact that it’s not a truthful reflection of real lives but a “symbolic account of what is valued and approved of “(Maggie 45). Women try to achieve this media image to feel accepted no matter what the cost.
According to what women are exposed to in media, they learn to reconstruct themselves and adapt into a defect less image. They can fix weight problems through exercise, chemical maintenance like different facial products and plastic surgery “sometimes without any harm to health, other with devastating consequences” (Maggie 48). People die every year from plastic surgery, not only can the outcomes of the surgery be fatal. Before plastic surgery when a doctor tells you what the change will look like...
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