The Subjectivity of Women to Modern Mass Media’s Construed Views of Beauty and How Their Effects on Body Image

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Mary-Cate Grimes
Diller
ENG 102
Spring 2013
Research Argument Rough Draft
The Subjectivity of Women to Modern Mass Media’s Construed Views of Beauty and How Their Effects on Body Image
According to Medline Plus’s medical dictionary, a portion of the National Institute of Health’s website for patients and their families and friends, “body image” is defined as “a subjective picture of one's own physical appearance established both by self-observation and by noting the reactions of others.” From the start, it is made obvious by such a definition that any person’s self-body image is sculptured partly by others’ opinions and societal context. This, in turn, supports that this is the basis for the majority of mass media’s success; they base what they advertise on the opinions and preferences of their viewers, readers, et cetera. This is the same case for women living in a society largely centered around others “approving” or “liking” what they look like. Mass media in America acts as an advocate for bodily perfection by nationally utilizing commonly used forms of media in negatively influencing women, young and old, to view their bodies as “not good enough” through society’s eyes. In years past, the standard for female beauty throughout several centuries was unrealistic and difficult to attain, as it continues to be today. In the 19th century, ideals for what an “acceptable” woman was changed from the physically strong and able woman able to manage house and home to one that was small-waisted and large-chested. The invention of the corset, as early as the 16th century, fueled a good portion of the feminist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, as did women’s rebellion in choosing pants as their clothing item of choice instead of dresses. By World War II, women took on new roles in society as they took up jobs to replace men who were away at war so that the national industry could continue to thrive. However, the ideal, again, became a physically strong...
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