As media becomes an ever more powerful force in shaping the world's perception of itself, an individual's struggle to maintain a unique identity and self-understanding apart from media influence becomes increasingly difficult. Damaging to the idea of the self are the racial, gendered, and class-based stereotypes (always artificial and frequently physically, fiscally, and emotionally unattainable), which are broadly perpetuated and, because of their persistence, are apparently not broadly questioned. The prevalence and power of gender (especially female) stereotypes in the media are addressed in this paper.
Heightened public awareness of both the existence of and potential damage caused by these stereotypes is essential if they are to be eliminated. Frequently, though, they are difficult to combat and even to identify because of the ways in which they are presented. Overwhelming amounts of time and energy are devoted to uplifting a small, specially selected portion of the population as models of physical perfection. These individuals are, predominantly, television and movie celebrities, fashion models, and sports figures. The glamorous ways in which these occupations are portrayed by the media are seemingly impossible to separate from the physical appearance of the people who hold them. The glamour that surrounds the media presentation of the lives and careers of these individuals extends, not surprisingly, to the clothes that they wear and the way that they look. In fact, so much attention is given to celebrity appearances that entire television programs are devoted to little else but visual exploitation of celebrity clothing and their tangible products of their latest fad workouts.
The media presentation of the celebrity body has a single unifying thread, regardless of the specific job title of a given celebrity. Celebrity bodies are desired, both subjectively and objectively. The media, without question,... [continues]
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