Does It Shape Society's View of Femininity?
The question answers itself. Yes, the media definitely influences today's society via
messages through the television, radio, magazines, and billboards. It seems that in today's
day and age to even be "noticed" as a woman one must be tall, skinny, blonde, and countless other
things that the "average woman" could only hope for. Today, if one is not comfortable
with who or what they are, they may encounter many dilemmas. I found three convincing
reasons to support my claim: the rise of eating disorders throughout history, percentages
and statistics, and my own personal experience.
The Rise of Eating Disorders Throughout History
As far back as the 18th century, women began dieting. They submitted themselves to
food deprivation, enemas, and purging. In order to achieve that "hourglass" figure, some
women went as far as having their lower ribs surgically removed.(Collins 199) In the 1940s and '50s,
full figure females were popularized by movie stars like Ava Gardner, Jane Russell, and
Marlyn Monroe, but they were, however, short lived. With the introduction of Playboy®,
Vogue®, and Cosmopolitan®, eating disorders have quickly taken over our society. The
great majority of American women are culturally conditioned to strive for a slender figure.
Advertising, television, films, and the fashion industry relentlessly drive home the
message, and women who don't " naturally" fit the mold often respond by dieting or even
Percentages and Statistics
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, " Media images that help to
create a cultural definition of beauty and attractiveness are often acknowledged as being
among those factors contributing to the rise of eating disorders"(165). Media messages
screaming "thin is in" may not cause eating disorders but help to create a context in which
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