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Transcript of Body Image
Body image is a self-perception of one's physical appearance. Ideal body types vary from culture to culture and are constantly changing over time.
To what extent has media and pop culture influenced body image?
What can be done to mitigate the effects of the media's opinions?
BODY IMAGE IN AMERICA 1920s - PRESENT DAY
1930s - 1940s
During wartime and the Great Depression, America expected a more professional and proper look from women. Women held more important roles in society and embraced their natural curves and figures.
The Marilyn Monroe look was epitomized with voluptuousness and curves, which signified health and fertility. Popularized Hollywood movies glamorized the ideal appearance for women.
1960s - 1970s
The androgynous look was brought back by supermodel Twiggy with her iconic large eyes and emaciated body. The 70s continued the skinny and thin ideal as Farrah Fawcett came into the spotlight.
The fitness craze took over and it was demanded that women should not only be skinny, but also extremely toned and fit.
Extending from the 80s, women were expected to be toned and slim, but also to maintain feminine curves.
Today, there is an appreciation for a diversity in bodies than can be related to the empowerment in women and the strong push towards health. Victoria's Secret models are presented as slim and toned with glowing complexions that depict healthiness and athleticism. Also, feminine curves are seen as attractive and desirable.
The "Roaring Twenties" rejected societal norms of how proper women should behave. The ideal look was androngynous. Women strove for the boyish look of lankier bodies with minimal curves and shorter hair. This was also known as the "flapper" look.
- Up to 24 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from an eating disorder.
- Anorexia (third most common chronic illness), bulimia, binge-eating.
-47% of girls in grades 5th-12th reported to wanting to lose weight due to images they saw in magazines and advertisements.
- Vomiting excessively does damage to your teeth and mouth from the gastric acid.
- Excessive intake of laxatives damages the digestive system.
Social Media and Bullying
promoted weight loss, but glorifies eating and mental disorders
Pictures of extremely thin people
Ana and Mia
- In an attempt to achieve the perfect body, many people become afflicted with body dysmorphic disorder and muscle dysmorphia.
-Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental disorder where one perceives something is physically wrong with them and must be fixed , however it only applies to one body part
- BDD is a chronic disorder and usually drives the people afflicted to do things like plastic surgery and other body enhancement methods to try and "fix it"
Objectification and Violence
"It’s not that simple but turning a human being in to a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence against that person. We see this with racism, we see it with homophobia, we see it with terrorism. It’s always the same process. The person is dehumanized and violence becomes inevitable. And that step is already and constantly taken against women."
Killing Us Softly
Dove Real Beauty
Aerie Real is a campaign displaying unretouched images of women of different races and sizes. The models represent "real" women of all shapes.
Shhhhut down fat talk
"You wouldn't talk this way to anyone else, so why do it to yourself?"
Industry and Revenue
“They had drastically altered my body thinning out my stomach and thighs in an attempt to box me into the cultural idea of beauty.” - Meaghan Kausman
Photoshop and other digital altering has only made the endeavor to look a certain way even more impossible and unrealistic.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's “Truth in Advertising Act”
"The reality is that we do regulate the kind of images that we show on advertisements for cigarettes and for alcohol. It’s not ‘anything goes.’ Advertising is a regulated industry."
Many countries including the U.K., France, Australia have taken initiative to regulate the advertising industry by enforcing laws to include disclaimers on ads that state whether or not a person's body in the picture had been Photoshopped.
"Photograph retouched to modify the physical appearance of a person."
"As a U.S. size 12, she’s the curviest model to ever appear in the edition [of Sports Illustrated]."
Fitness centers/ weight loss- $22.4bn
Cosmetics industry- $56.63bn
Apparel market- $225bn
One of most successful women’s lingerie retailers in the world
Average sales $6.6 billion
Fashion shows cost $15 million
Victoria's Secret recently released a campaign titled "The Perfect Body." However, they fail to realize the message it evokes; the idolization of a thin body, which is impossible to achieve for most women, only adds to preexisting insecurities, making it difficult for women to appreciate their own bodies.
“Ads sell more than products. They sell values, images, and concepts of love, sexuality, success, and normalcy. They tell us who we are and who we should be."
The Power of Photoshop
Health Consequences continued
-Muscle dysmorphia is a disorder in which people perceive themselves as never being big enough
- Over exercising may cause amenorrhea in women and fatigue in both genders.
- Over supplementation leads to liver problems
- Misusage of steroids can be detrimental to heart and hormones, especially at a young age
- Female models are expected be no shorter than 5'8 and have bust, waist, and hip measurements of 34-24-34 respectively. They must also fall in the range of 90-120 pounds in weight. Only 5% of women genetically have this body type.
- Male models are required to be 6"+ and be lean, yet muscular.
-Disney movies feature princesses with incredibly small waists and seemingly perfect features.
-Barbie has pale skin, blue eyes, blonde hair, and a flawless complexion.
-If she were real, she would be 5'9 and 110 pounds with proportions that are anatomically impossible.
-Her bust would be 39" and her hips would be 33" making it impossible to walk and forcing her to walk on all fours.
Websites and organizations are also joining the initiative to help promote positive body image
Media literacy is important in desensitizing the influence of the media. Often, the media and advertisements set high and virtually unachievable standards for consumers. Instead of internalizing beliefs and ideas, people, especially children and teenagers, should approach media with skepticism and with the understanding of the media's inherent deception. Organizations such as the Media Literacy Project have aimed to educate young kids about the media and they way they should go about perceiving its messages.
- tumblr now blocks hashtags that promote negative body image
- filter out pictures of girls that are emaciated and are very difficult if not impossible to attain
- proud2beme.org reaches out to kids trying to promote a diversity of body images
- one of proud to be me campaigns was so succesful it led to the expansion in clothing sizes in the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing line
- adolescents on social media report that they feel better searching on tumblr now
Have they worked?
Many stores like Brandy Melville have been criticized for selling "one size" clothing. Other stores like Abercrombie and Fitch have been criticized for making clothing in a small range of sizes that discriminate against other body types.
Education and eradicating ignorance is the best solution posed to the issues of body image. Media literacy is the best solution to educate children at a young age the dynamics and deceit of advertising and to stress the importance of skepticism and critical thinking.