Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How the Media Influences What We Want to Look Like

Models and actresses have been setting the ideal body in our society since the early 1900s. According to an article on eating disorders in the newsletter CQ Researcher Charles Dana Gibson created a drawing that was in many magazines entitled "The Gibson Girl" which featured a girl whose tiny waist was not proportionate to the rest of her body creating an unrealistic ideal for women. Fast forward 40 years to a time where Marilyn Monroe and other actresses who had a fuller figure set an ideal that was more in ling with natural anatomy. Then, in the 1960s Twiggy a British model who weighed 97 pounds presented a new body image of impossible skinniness. This body type is still desired by many women and young girls today. However, this body type is only naturally possessed by 5% of American females.  
With media being so prominent in our society, what actresses and models look like will inevitably have a huge impact on whoever sees them. In a Pediatric Child Health from 2003 pediatricians Anne Morria and Debra Katzman said that “On average a child or adolescent… spends an average of 6 to 7 hours [a day] viewing the various media combined." This amount of media exposure is bound to have an impact on its viewers. The Anorexia Nervosa and associated disorders association released the statistic that "47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures." Clearly there being one body type people are striving for is not healthy. 
Media is constantly showing us what we should be striving for. For example, Victoria's Secret released a bra campaign entitled "The Perfect 'Body'" and here is what the campaign picture looks like:
Victoria's Secret Campaign

This ad makes it seem as though this body type is "perfect". Though the word "body" is specifically talking about the body of the bra having 10 extremely thin women in the background doesn't make it seem that way. After much scrutiny Victoria's Secret changed the campaign title to "A Body For Every Body" with the same picture in the back

When will women finally not feel pressure from society to be this thin?

1 comment:

  1. Such a great connection to your JT research, Ariana. But I think less space spent on the rehash of the research and more time devoted to the controversy might be instructive to your readers. I read the linked article and I think you might explore how this is a kind of free speech/censorship issue. The Change.org petition is interesting and so was VS's response, among others.