Impossible Standards

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Impossible Standards
The problem is…
For many years the media has played a role in portraying society’s view of how a woman should look. Women are in advertisements for things like clothes, to food, to cars and alcohol all have one thing in common: the women all have one of two specific body types. Either these women are thin to the point of near starvation, or famous for their breath-taking sexy curvy bodies. In discussions of the negative effects of the media on the female body, one controversial issue has been that it affects women negatively and leads to depression, eating disorders, and in some cases death. Some say the super sexy half naked curvy models are being used to sell things through sexualizing all commodities geared towards not only men, but women also. And that the super thin models being used in high fashion are putting an impossible standard of beauty into the heads of women all over the world. Although I don’t see a problem with the curvy super sexy models of today, I think society should draw the line at the ultra-thin models, and change the mindset that to be beautiful you have to be 5’ll and 105 pounds. I say we should even push for more curvy models; there is nothing wrong with a woman having some curves. These women actually have some meat on their bones. These women may make some people desire plastic surgery, but in my opinion there are far less negative side effects from someone getting plastic surgery than someone having anorexia or bulimia. This would even boost the medical economy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Jean Kilbourne agrees in her series of documentaries titled “Killing Us Softly” She states, “Women learn from a very early age that we must spend enormous amounts of time, energy, and above all, money striving to achieve this look and feeling ashamed and guilty when we fail. And failure is inevitable because the ideal is based on absolute flawlessness.” Her videos clearly depict what the fashion industry does to women: puts an impossible idea of beauty in their heads, and makes them feel like failures if they cannot succeed in obtaining this look. Researchers such as Shelly Grabe from the University of Wisconsin have conducted and analyzed studies on whether images of super thin models affect women. These studies have shown that the more these women are used on the runways and ads on billboards, the worse regular women feel about their own bodies. And the more these ultra-thin women are seen, more and more women feel they should do something to alter their own bodies. That is where problems like anorexia and bulimia arise. Some would say this problem may even be a purposeful economic move. By putting forth these images of women that are difficult and almost impossible to obtain the diet and fashion industries are set for business. And the funny thing is these women in the magazines and ads don’t even really look the way they are portrayed. Advances in technology can work wonders on a woman’s appearance today. Technology can suddenly make a woman drop thirty pounds, smooth her wrinkles, erase fine lines, and make her appear taller and tanner, and have every blemish disappear with the simple click of a mouse. As shown in Kilbourne’s documentary, even the supermodel Cindy Crawford once said, “I wish I could look like Cindy Crawford”. This is a perfect example, even the most famous and beautiful models of all time do not look the way they are portrayed, and they know it. The ways these women are depicted are nothing but unrealistic and unattainable. I personally care about this problem because I have seen first-hand what the effects of the media on a woman’s body really are. Growing up, I had a friend in high school who suffered from anorexia. To me and everyone else her body was perfectly healthy. Even according to the body mass index charts she was within the normal range of weight for her height, but to her, her body was never good enough. We used to watch the famous Victoria...
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