Women in the media
A quick glance into the latest women's magazine will instantly reveal new ways to look younger, thinner, and prettier. An article written by Michael F. Jacobson and Laurie Anne Mazure entitled "The Iron Maiden: How Advertising Portrays Women" sheds light on the excessive attention paid to a woman's appearance. The article states that "women have always been measured against cultural ideas of beauty but advertising has joined forces with sexism to make images of the beauty ideal more pervasive, and more unattainable, than ever before" (Jacobson and Mazur 211). The ideal image of women portrayed by advertisements is unrealistic, yet it sets standards that many women feel they must alter their appearance in order to attain. It is difficult to look through a woman's magazine without seeing at least one article about "trimming down" or "shaping up". Weight is perhaps the most imperative aspect of the ideal image of women, referred to by Jacobson and Mazur as "The Iron Maiden". The majority of women's magazines feature some sort of weight management article on the front cover. Headlines like "The Easiest Way to Lose Weight" and "Lose 8 lbs. by Thanksgiving!" are common when glancing up and down the grocery store magazine aisle. So much emphasis in articles and advertisements is put on being slim and fit that little room is left for women of different shapes. A diet program called Medifast asks its readers to "Picture themselves in a new wardrobe, dropping dress sizes every month, enjoying shopping for clothes, turning heads, feeling good again." This advertisement, like many others, promotes the false impression that happiness comes from being thin. Skinniness as happiness can be as subtle as before and after pictures that show a person noticeably happier after losing weight. The idea is clearly asserted in other advertisements such as a Mary Kay article that states "My skin. My eyes. My smile. Suddenly, everything feels so right. That's the beauty...
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