Standard of Beauty

Topics: Anorexia nervosa, Obesity, Nutrition Pages: 5 (2059 words) Published: June 21, 2013
Every day, teens are exposed to the media in different forms ranging, from television, news, or online communication. Even when walking down the street, they see the covers of magazines. The average teenager is constantly in contact with other people who may deliver news about a new episode of a television show or tell them about a story they have read in a magazine they picked up. Teens observe the lives of celebrities, characters in television shows and books, and the models on the fashion runway. They pay attention to aspects of the lives of those featured in the media, Eating disorders are a very serious problem among teenagers. Their own sense of reality is also distorted when surrounded by images of underweight models. Aspects ranging from their clothes, to the way they behave, to even their body’s appearance. Because the media is constantly being circulated around teenagers, it is unavoidable that it will influence them in some way, leading to a rise in eating disorders among both men and women. Currently, there are over seven-million women in America, alone, who suffer from an eating disorder. The average person suffering from an eating disorder is trying to gain acceptance by peers, family, society, or, more importantly, themselves. People with anorexia have a false perception of themselves. They consider themselves overweight, even though most people with this illness are 85 percent under what is medically healthy (Mathews). Some who suffer an eating disorder have been pressured by their parents. The parents may have suggested that their teen lose weight, even though they are of an average weight. Peers can be another influence on a person suffering from an eating disorder. Teens who compare themselves to underweight classmates may believe that the only way to gain acceptance is to lose weight. In the media, and idealized woman is portrayed more than and average woman. The National Association for Males with Eating Disorders said, “The media is a major force of reflecting and reinforcing our cultural ideas of physical attractiveness as well as portraying masculine and feminine characteristics and roles”. This idea has been seen throughout history. In the 1920’s, flappers were idealized by women because of their thin, straight figure and long, slender legs. Later in history, Marilyn Monroe was idealized for her curves. This idea faded quickly and was replaced by Twiggy in the 1970’s. Rated as the most beautiful woman in the world, she was 5’6” and only 96 pounds. This is considered underweight by current standards. A typical American woman is approxiamately 5’4” and weighs about 140 lbs. On the other hand, the average supermodel is at least 5’10” with a weight of 117 pounds. This makes the model twenty-three percent thinner than an average woman. (Wykes, Barrie). Young women see thin models and actresses in magazines, advertisements, and television shows. The media have portrayed the successful and beautiful protagonists as thin. They have promoted the image of thinness through popular programming.. Thinness has thus become associated with self control and success. The average American woman's body weight has increased over the past thirty years, yet the models that represent American women have become increasingly thinner. The media's portrayal of happy, successful women being extremely thin makes a huge impact on women's perception of beauty. When girls begin to compare themselves to the famous and thin women they see on television, or in magazines, they equate thinness with beauty, and many strive to become beautiful. Starting from a young age, children are given false perceptions of an idealized woman from magazines and even toys. The pressures to be thin are prevalent among young girls. At a very young age, children are presented with their first Barbie. This often becomes a role model for a young girl. Barbie She is considered beautiful for her blonde hair, long legs, and a very expansive chest that is...
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