Media Ethics, the Unattainable Ideal

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Case 29 “everyone knows her: “ the unattainable ideal” “Situation”
Society is increasingly being affected by the fashion and advertising industries promoting images of beauty ideals unattainable for most women. Images of wafer-thin models are contributing to distorted body images, low self-esteem and eating disorders amongst young women. The advertising agencies are packing their ads with emaciated, vacant imagery, so ubiquitous that it takes on a semblance of normalcy. Suggestions of unattainable beauty and the competitive modeling industry are in some fatal cases resulting in death of runway models, and now several fashion/cosmetic institutions are constructing new guidelines banning the representation of underweight models. The issue to be addressed is why the fashion, entertainment and advertising industries continuously seem to maintain this unhealthy standard, simultaneously rejected and admired by the public. (Christians, Fackler, Richardson, Kreshel & Woods, 2012, p. 144), 1."Values”

As an advertiser it is necessary to consider the social impact an advertising campaign may have on the general public. Advertisers are careful about the values and attitudes to be promoted and encouraged, indorsing some while overlooking others. This selectivity gives the lie to the belief that advertising does no more than mirror the surrounding culture. In a society where beauty is idealized and underweight models are considered perfection, it has become normal for the industry to advertise beauty products and clothing that appeal to the public promoting these potentially harmful ideals. Anticipating the public’s perception of an advertisement is a complex process. As an advertiser it is your profession to sell products and services, or better yet, hopes and dreams in disguise. Reflecting upon the fact that one simultaneously sells values, ideals and models- advertisers become a social agent, indicating which standards society, or more case-specifically young girls...
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