Fixation on the Perfect Body
The pressures from society and the outside influence of mass media can create conflict within ourselves when we do not measure up to the images they display. The images that both men and women have to have to live up to - can be overwhelming and simply unobtainable. Every person's body is unique, there are usually no two exactly alike as genetics play such an important part on who we are; and what the future holds for us with body image. Opinions of our body image can be destructive or show great satisfaction. Your opinion can cause a great deal of conflict merely because you feel inadequate to what society is dictating. The conflict analysis of culture points to ongoing struggle between more or less advantage groups. The privilege groups try to maintain their advantage as the subordinate groups struggle to increase theirs. (Brym and Lie, p. 46) In regards to body image those that have obtained their level of perfection continue on their quest, and the others never give up the fight for trying to achieve it. According to the article Gender Differences in Attitudes about Fat show that men and women adopt different cognitive strategies to copy with the American image on thinness. (Aruguete, 2006) The study was indicative of how the difference in genders perceived body image. Women reported that they dieted more, skipped more meals, and was overall were more totally dissatisfied with their bodies. The internalization of the negative conflict showed that women were more likely to ruminate during bouts of depression. (Nolen-Hoesksems1987) Images that compare body types can lead to oppression under capitalism merely because the imagery is visible. (Croft, 2004) Sexist stereotyping and judgments are in every single facet of our lives. When we apply for a job we are being sized up before we even start conversing. The way we look and the images we are trying to portray are everywhere we go.
Dittman and Howard (2004) made this statement regarding the prevalence of unrealistic media images; According to Jean Kilborne, Media Awareness Magazine, "many women internalize these stereotypes, and judge themselves by the beauty industry's standards. Women learn to compare themselves to other women, and to compete with them for male attention. This focus on beauty and desirability effectively destroys any awareness and action that might help to change that climate." (Gerber, 2006) Facts are that most people turn to the media for information on sex and sexuality, in fact most teens learn their sex education from the media. The majority of people associate sexuality with beauty. These images are being forced on women to conform to their version of what society expects from females. Our society is suffering from an epidemic of body image dissatisfaction so much so, that it is now considered a norm to be on the pursuit of perfection. It seems as though everyone to some degree is going through this vicious self hatred of not measuring up. An article in Media Awareness
Magazine quotes: In its 1998 study Focus on Youth, the Canadian Council on Social Development reports that while the number of boys who say they "have confidence in themselves" remains relatively stable through adolescence, the numbers for girls drop steadily from 72 per cent in Grade Six students to only 55 per cent in 10th grade. (Gerber, 2006) There are studies out showing that children as young as third grade are consumed with dieting. Toddlers in preschool now know that there are certain foods that are not healthy and could have the capacity to make them fat. However, the adolescents is the group that is focused on the most, as this is...
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