A body is our physical structure. It is our flesh and bone. It represents our very being. We have utterly no control over which body we are born into, yet despite this fact, our body has the power to shape the people we become and even the way we perceive ourselves. Body image, as defined by Merriam Webster, is “a subjective picture of one's own physical appearance established both by self-observation and by noting the reactions of others.” In Western culture, thinness has become highly valued and millions of people, especially women, are fixated on the thin body (The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity, Bordo, 309). In short, to gain social admiration and respect, women have come to understand that their bodies must represent the thin ideal. This idea has been promoted and further advanced by popular culture (The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity, Bordo, 309). Cultural outlets such as films, television, magazines, music, advertisements and so forth have continued to reinforce the idea that to be happy and beautiful, one must be skinny (The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity, Bordo, 309). This reinforcement is of no surprise considering that thinness is a multi-million dollar industry. From weight-loss pills to exercise gear to reality shows for weight-loss, thinness is a lucrative business and pop culture outlets have major incentive to retain the thin ideal. Unfortunately, the media’s unattainable “perfect” body results in millions of women developing low self-esteem, depression, eating disorders, and so forth (The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity, Bordo, 309-310). Popular culture affects what we believe – in this case, our beliefs surrounding gender roles, beauty ideals, and sexual dynamics – and, in turn, what we believe about ourselves, thus shaping our identity.
Media has created an unattainable idea of beauty and bodily perfection, which leads to the dissatisfaction most women feel about their body shapes. From a very...
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