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How are gender stereotypes in the media effecting men and women?

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Rosie Mudie

on 11 March 2014

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Transcript of How are gender stereotypes in the media effecting men and women?

How is the media effecting men and women's body image?
In this era, many people are being influenced in the wrong ways about body image through things like TV, movies, and most of all the fashion industry. Because we see these people on TV (etc) as perfect, we want to be like them and desire to look just how they do.

Some people in the media are extremely thin, and have "the perfect face" causing some to feel the need to change their face/body, have surgery, and find a way of losing weight - causing bulimia and anorexia etc.

I will be speaking about how the media is effecting the average human being's life.
How is the media causing eating disorders and insecurities?
How Younger Generations are Influenced
When we are younger, our toys and what we play with have a huge impact on what we are like and who we want to be when we grow up. Barbie, a popular fashion doll, has always been scrutinized in the public for being an unrealistic representation of a woman, but things were taken to a whole new level with the doll in 1965 when "Slumber Party" Barbie was released. She came with a set of pink bathroom scales, permanently set to 110lbs, and a diet book telling her how to lose weight, with just one instruction saying "DON'T EAT!"

The scale was removed just one year later, and the 1966/7 version renamed Barbie Sleepytime Gal, but she still came equipped with her diet book and its rule.

It’s estimated that 8 million people in the United States have an eating disorder, and only 10-15% of them are male, Leaving 85- 90% of them to be female. 80% of those females are under the age of 20, some admitting that they started worrying about their weight when they were between the age of 4 and six years old, which is the time most children start using dolls to play with - taking up most of their time.
Some people say that the media is causing anorexia and more disorders in different ways. For example models on runways are often very skinny and severely underweight - which is one of the main causes of anorexia and eating disorders according to some surveys.

For example, Karl Lagerfeld, a famous german fashion designer was asked whether the fashion industry was to blame for eating disorders, and said "No, that is something to sell papers." Lagerfeld also said that "...no one wants to see curvy women on the runway."

In addition, VOGUE stated that they chose Gisele Bunchen as their “model of the year” due to the fact that she isn't the typical “rail thin” model even though she is 25% below her ideal weight for her height. This shows that the media's idea of healthy is getting lower and lower.

Also, even shopping stores have been affecting how people think of their weight. In the 1950s, mannequins were the ideal and healthy shape of a woman: the average having the hip measurement of 34 inches. Since then, there has been a significant lower size between mannequins and the average woman. By 1990 the average hip measurement of all women had increased to 37 inches while mannequins had decreased even further to 31 inches.
Valeria Lukyanova
AKA "The Human Barbie"
Barbie is widely known to have influenced girls into having surgery and a perfect example of this is Valeria Lukyanova.

She is a Ukrainian model who is best known for her resemblance to a Barbie doll. She uses contact lenses and has stated that she has had breast implants, but that the rest of her body is completely natural. Although it is highly speculated that she has had ribs removed to make her waist look significantly smaller.

Valeria has over 48000 followers on instagram, receiving many comments on her photos complimenting her saying that she is "perfect" although her look consists of surgery and a large amount of makeup.
There have been many people/companies that help others become more confident with their body image.
For example in summer 2012, vogue promised to "not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder," and said they will ask casting directors to check IDs at photo shoots and fashion shows and for ad campaigns. Vogue are now saying they "believe that good health is beautiful."

Also, many actors and even supermodels are scrutinized for being "too fat" even though they are a perfectly average size, like a 10 or 12. Jennifer Lawrence (as an example of this) has been very honest with how she feels about how the media (especially the film industry) affects people's body image. Previous to The Hunger Games, she was told to lose weight as it would be appropriate for her character. However, she said: "We have control over this image, we have control over this role model. Why would we make her something unobtainable and thin?". She has also said that she will never lose weight for a part because she doesn't want little girls to be like: "Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner."
Christian Response
"For we are not our own masters when we live or when we die. While we live, we live to please the Lord. And when we die, we go to be with the Lord. So in life and in death, we belong to the Lord"

So if our bodies belong to the Lord, then he is the master of them, and should accept us for who we are. Also, the Bible reassures us of God's love for us, which should result in self-acceptance and love to others.

Muslim Response
In Islam, the destruction of a person's health is viewed in a different light. Up to 20% of anorexic women die each year and in Islam suicide is considered Haram (forbidden), meaning that Muslims and the Qur'an are against people with eating disorders to an extent.
Religious Responses
How does the media effect men and women's body image?

In my opinion, the media effects our daily lives and body image significantly. This starts from an early age where we are told what the definition of perfect by simply being given a Barbie - or Ken, for boys. We are persuaded further later in our lives by being bombarded by celebrity images who have the "perfect" figure even though they are underweight or even anorexic. These people who are considered anorexic also have the "perfect" face - a small, sloped nose, big eyes, plump lips etc.






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