In today’s society the image of the female body is everywhere. Woman and their body parts are used to sell everything from clothes to cars in the advertising industry. Plastered across numerous magazine covers are woman flaunting their flimsy bodies and stated in bold print next to her is “lose weight and experience a happy life.” Millions of women from all over read this message and wonder maybe their life would be better if they lost that extra five pounds or so. It is a battle that the media has been exposing for decades.
Celebrity magazines like STAR and OK are known to criticize celebrities for being overweight or too thin. They fill their juicy gossip pages with pictures of the best and worst celebrity bodies exposing every inch of imperfection to a world full of harsh critics. It is no wonder that so many woman, young and old, are skipping meals, over exercising and using laxatives so that they can avoid the cruel reality of being called “overweight” by society.
Researchers report that women’s magazines have 10 and one half more of ads and articles that promote weight loss then men magazines do.
Television and movies emphasize the importance of thinness as a measure of a woman’s worth. Comedians poke fun at the weight of normal or heavier sized actresses, which usually ends in the laughter of an audience.
A couple weeks ago ,famous singer and teen idol Jessica Simpson preformed a concert in Florida and instead of the media talking about her music, her weight and the idea that she had gained too much was discussed. From then on critics and fans from all over criticized her claiming that she looked fat at her performance while rehashing her long roller coaster of weight issues. Following days of the tour, she struggled with her professional and personal life before having a melt down at another concert, barely making it through her songs.
Simpson is not the only female celebrity to experience the malicious wrath the media offers when it comes to body image. Singer Britney Spears and actress Kiera Knightly have both been targets of the media’s “she’s too fat, she’s too thin” fight. Will woman’s bodies ever be perfect in the eyes of the media? They will always expose when Hollywood beauties gain or lose a few pounds because apparently that is what America likes to read, since their magazines are flying off shelves. Has society become obsessed about weight gains, cellulite and anorexia?
The barrage of messages about thinness, dieting and beauty makes ordinary women feel that they are always in need of an adjustment, and that the female body is an object to be perfected. The overwhelming exposure of images of severely thin woman means that woman’s bodies have become invisible to the mass media; those women absorb these stereotypes and judge themselves by the beauty industries standards instead of their own.
The media is a very strong and growing industry informing society what’s hot and what’s not. Where has the morality of it all gone to? When did it become acceptable to put Barbie doll-like thin models on teen magazines showing teen girls that it is what they should strive for as woman and giving those directions on how? When did “normal” fade out and this unreasonable image of the perfect body come in? Over the decades, “normal” in the media’s eyes has turned into needing to drop a few pounds.
Vicky Hoover is a fourth-year student majoring in liberal studies with minors in journalism and education. She can be reached at VH608753@wcupa.edu.