Body Image

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Lindsey Cole
Leslie Michael
English 103: Argument and Research: 9:00 AM
May 7, 2013
Essay 2: words
Self- Improvement or Destruction

When you look in the mirror what do you see? In America, ones self-perception, but more of the perceptions of others establish body image. The media plays a huge role on how a teen feels about their outer appearance. For most girls, being healthy means having the perfect body and being accepted by their peers. The American Academy of Pediatrics showed that the majority of girls, 59 percent, reported resentment with their body shape, and 66 percent expressed the desire to lose weight (Image). Standards and examples of how we should look are being tremendously imposed on our generation. People are looked down upon on and teased ruthlessly simply because they do not look like the way the media perceives as beautiful, a stop needs to put to this because more and more teens are taking extreme measures to get their desired look. Eating disorders and plastic surgery are just a few ways teens are changing their changing their looks. Body image and the media is a topic that should be discussed, improved, and resolved for the better. Look at all the pictures, the spray tanned bodies that glow in the middle of winter, the women whose faces never age after twenty years, and the celebrities that can eat whatever they want, yet stay thin forever (Segrist). Any of this sound familiar? Pictures and articles of these models are seen every day and fill a great percentage of the magazines we read and the images seen on television. It is so easy to get caught up in the media because of the ‘perfection’ we see in it, but the question is does the beauty and body image in the media equal self-improvement or self- destruction? We are so cleverly manipulated and influenced by the media and establishments on both the right and left, that the truth has become hopelessly lost in semantics. The media is not a solely to blame. Images of perfection are pushed upon people in early childhood with toys like Barbie and G.I. Joe. “Barbie began her career as a stiff plastic dress-up figure… [w]ith her breasts and slender waist, Barbie came literally to embody the little girl’s image of what it meant to be grown up” (Cross). Same goes for G.I. Joe but instead of big boobs and thin wastes, it is massive toned muscles. Kids learn that grown-ups look like toys they love oh so much, but once they are grown up and look nothing like that toy, the children end up ‘hating’ how they look. When looking at the media, we recognize that women are the ones that are criticized and men are less of a concern when it comes to beauty and their body. We do however, picture that men should have a six packs and work out all the time if they want to live their life the best way possible (Segrist). When new movies come out that is the first thing you will hear, how an actor like Taylor Laughtner gained 20 pounds of muscle and is now looking better than ever. Women are criticized much more. It is not as simple as working out and eating healthy. There is always the promise of a new diet that you just ‘have’ to use to lose the last few pounds, because if you do your life will overall be perfect. The real image of women is lost in the media because the industry favors the skinny models and perfect tanned girls in magazines we constantly read (Segrist). Standards of women are put to the test every day. Most women are not naturally what is seen in the magazines. Being thin and losing the right amount of weight has become an over obsession with many young women. The media has set standards that are unrealistic for what the ‘normal’ body weight and appearance should be. Their portrayal of ‘normal’ keeps getting thinner and thinner for women and more body muscle and for men. The body image in the media keeps changing and people do their best to keep up with it. Twenty-five years ago the average female model only weighed 8% less than the average...
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