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What Is True Beauty

In: Social Issues

Submitted By sydrochelle32
Words 1255
Pages 6
Sydney Johnson
Graham
Writing
April 9, 2013

Defining true beauty
"Better Buns in 10 Days!", "Flatten Your Stomach!", and "Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days!" These are all headlines that are thrown at women each and every day. The media today presents an unrealistic image of women, which pressures women to make unhealthy decisions. Perfection is “important” and the media has no problem letting women around the world know they are slacking. In today's society, women are plagued with images of the so-called "perfect woman”; this causes a catalyst of effects in the women of today's society. Over the years the average woman’s weight has increased while the average fashion model’s weight has dropped. “This growing difference has had a well-documented and pronounced negative effect on the body image of the women and girls who read women’s magazines” (Qtd in Kramer).
Throughout history women have been constantly pressured to have the “ideal” body image. As the years went by, the women in the magazine became less realistic and more idealistic. When we look into the magazines today we are bombarded with thin models. In 2004 a journal “Eating Disorders,” women were portrayed in the media as having ideal bodies weighed approximately 15 percent less than average women, making the ideal body difficult, if not impossible, for most women to attain” (Qtd in Kramer). Since women today are feeling so much pressure to look a certain way they will believe any Magazine ad that they see for weight loss. Some even think that they need to go through extremely dangerous procedures to look like “Americas Next Top Model.” With fashion being one of the biggest social class acceptors in today’s society, it too puts pressure on women to look “perfect”.
Women frequently compare their bodies to those they see around them. Dissatisfaction with their bodies causes many women and girls to strive for the thin ideal body. “In recent survey by Teen People magazine, 27% of the girls felt that the media pressures them to have a perfect body, and a poll conducted in 1996 by the international ad agency Saatchi and Saatchi found that ads made women fear being unattractive or old” (“The Effects”). The pressure to look thin is starting to consume the minds of women. If magazines continue to show images of super thin models it will continue to hurt the women. Trying to be like the models in the magazines will physically, mentally, and emotionally hurt the women trying to copy the images shown. From the perspective of the mass media, thinness is idealized and expected for women to be considered "attractive." Images in advertisements, television, and music usually portray the "ideal woman" as tall, white, and thin, with a "tubular" body, and blonde hair. The media is littered with images of females who fulfill these unrealistic standards, making it seem as if it is normal for women to live up to this ideal.
Social conspiracy theory is a theory seeking to explain a disputed case or matter as a plot by a secret group or alliance rather than an individual or isolated act (Dictionary). “The social comparison theory offers some level of explanation for how media images actually come to impact the way women feel about their bodies” (Serdar). The main point of the theory is that people compare themselves on different dimensions with people that are similar to them. There are many different places that an individual can look for social comparison, but the most popular is the media and its influence on women. “Most companies that target women in the media actually attempt to replace social comparison with idealized images, in order to motivate women to buy products that will bring them closer to the ideal” (e.g. diet products, makeup, hair products).
While women are trying to lose weight and become a size two, they are not taking their health into consideration. The only thing they see is a thin more attractive self. Anorexia nervosa takes an enormous toll on the body. Anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes an eating disorder characterized by low body weight and body image distortion. According to Gina Shaw with WebMd.com, “between 5% and 20% of people who develop this disease eventually dies from it”. This disease usually “starts in adolescents when young people are supposed to be putting down the critical bone mass that will sustain them through adulthood” (Shaw). Bulimia nervosa, more commonly known as bulimia, is an eating disorder. It is a psychological condition in which the subject engages in recurrent binge eating followed by an intentional purging (Dictionary). Purging is done in order to get rid of the excessive intake of the food and to prevent weight gain. Purging typically takes the form of vomiting, inappropriate use of laxatives, enemas, diuretics or other medication, excessive physical exercise, or fasting.
Women should feel proud of what they have and realize that every other person in the world has insecurities. Women must not compare themselves to the appearance of other women and say, “I must look like that” because that is the path to low self-esteem. The main reason girls in this era are not confident is because they do not feel attractive or “pretty” enough. Those being turned away from society because they are a size 14 instead of a size 2 are driven to fight with themselves. They think they must obtain the perfect appearance in order to look like the fashion models and actresses they see in magazines and on television.
However, other things in life are more important. Being stick-thin is not going to make a difference in a woman’s life. It will not make a woman happier or change life for the better. The more important things in life are more influential than worrying about your weight. Having a place to live, food to eat, and friends and family that love you is a lot more important in my opinion. Walking through the streets I see different types of women with all kinds of different body types. I personally think that a curvy girl looks more attractive that skin and bones. All sizes are beautiful as long as the person is healthy and isn’t risking their life to look like a model.
The true definition of beauty is a combination of qualities, such as shape, color and form that pleases the aesthetic senses especially the sight. Throughout this paper I have explained to you the difficulties women go through with the media today. The struggles women face with watching TV, reading magazines, or even watching movies. Some people don’t understand the struggles that women face every day when they awake in the morning. “A woman is like a tea bag you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water” said Eleanor Roosevelt.

Work Cited
Serdar, Kasey. "Female Body Image and the Mass Media: Perspectives on How Women Internalize the Ideal Beauty Standard." Westminster College: A Private Comprehensive Liberal Arts College in Salt Lake City, UT, Offering Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees in Liberal Arts and Professional Programs, including Business, Nursing, Education and Communication. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.
Shaw, Gina WebMD. "Anorexia: The Body Neglected." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2013
"Negative Effects of Media on Women." Yahoo! Contributor Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.
Kramer, Meg. "The Effects of Women's Magazines on Body Image." LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 8 Oct. 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.…...

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