Media Affects Women in Our Society
Imagine yourself being surrounded by mirrors on all four sides with bright lights flashing on your body from head to toe. Would you feel happy that all your unique features are being highlighted or would you try to conceal them, thinking that they are all flaws that bring you down? You slowly start tracing them all unconsciously with the tip of your finger, lingering on the places that you would rather forget and finally ending with a heavy sigh leaving your lips. How many of you out there are honestly happy with the way you look? Be it that pimple on your forehead or that scar you want to hide or the shape of your eyes/ face/ body you want to change so badly simply because it is not good enough for you- but ask yourself this, good enough compared to what? You might say that the average women of today are slimmer, taller and prettier and it is not bad to want these qualities for yourself. I agree, however, it is indeed bad to want these at the expense of your dear life. The main question still remains what makes you vulnerable to these yearnings in the first place? Only one thing crosses your mind- the media. Media creates unrealistic expectations of our bodies that most of us cannot ever achieve. It tries to manipulate our thoughts into thinking that our bodies or features are not good enough; that they need to go through several transformations in order to fit in or get accepted in our everyday society. Women go through extreme measures just to make themselves look like the models or the actresses on televisions, magazines, billboards, internet etc. According to the media, women are not given value if they do not portray a certain image, for example if they are not a certain size, they are not presentable. Eventually, their way of thinking also gets affected from these messages that the media are so successful in depicting. They go through physical and mental challenges to try and overcome what they are not happy with. Another wrong concept that the media tries to influence is that being thin and being beautiful are correlated. “Being skinny” or having “a perfect body like a model” is not the same as being beautiful. According to the Are you feeling better about your body image? : Self-disclosure and psychosocial benefits in Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” online discussion forum (2009) beauty is defined as a flexible concept that is malleable and changeable. A large woman can be just as beautiful as a size zero model posing for a magazine. In today’s culture, women’s bodies are “looked at, evaluated and always potentially objectified” and thus the belief that only physically attractive women get attention in any circumstances comes to light. In an article by Gemma Lopez-Guimera et al. (2010) it is seen in a report of the Kaiser Family Foundation that 4.29 hours is the average time spent watching television among 8-18 year olds in a typical day and an approximated 33 million 12-19 year olds spend more than $ 175 billion on magazines per year in the United States. In another survey, it has been stated that with the increased amount of exposure to the images of models and actresses, the self loathing in an individual increases as well. Their confidence level drops and so does their efficiency rate. They are constantly thinking about how to reduce weight or how to look flawless and flicking through magazines to look for articles named “5 ways to reduce that belly fat” or “ways to look beautiful”. These affect teenagers more than the adults although adults are not very far off from such impacts. As a teenager myself, I can vouch that the feeling that consumes us when we see these “perfect images” is not a happy one. I have struggled myself with weight loss and having a clear skin throughout most of my life, thinking that these features would make me acceptable. I would look at other girls with flawless skin, thin waist and long legs and get...
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