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Discussing the culture of Body Image and how it's portrayed in Westernized Societies

Asha Dhanoa

on 22 March 2013

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and how it's portrayed
in Westernized Societies Body Image We plan to carefully critically examine body image and beauty in the West. We will be highlighting the psychological and physiological effects of unattainable standards, the influence of media on the propagation of these unattainable standards, the way that indigenous peoples are de-humanized by dominant notions of acceptable body image, the influence of fairy tales on the creation of a body image that is only attainable to a miniscule proportion of our population, and the ways that women of colour tend to alter their bodies to fit the representations of the ideal body type. I will discuss the ways that children are socialized to adopt these dominant notions and the impact that these notions have on self-esteem, gender roles, and body image. It is our assertion that we need to carefully alter the way we conduct our behaviour, our business practices, our socialization practices, our educational practices in order to create a more equitable foundation to ensure that everyone can have an equal opportunity to attain a positive self-image. Foundation and Core Problems
Associated with Body Image Thesis Drive and Casualties One of the main factors that drive this particular body image to the western population, is mainly the amount of profit it gains.

The Fashion industry thrives on these types of bodies
Weight loss programs use this body image and scare tactics of an "obesity epidemic"
Nutritionists, trainers, steroids all contribute to helping you achieve that body image
The media (magazines, films, tv shows, etc) help promote this image to the general public.
Alterations to the body to fit that body image
Alterations How people physically change their bodies
to fit unattainable standards Who Benefits? “As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, ‘I love my body’. Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. No one woman has ever said, ‘I am so proud of my body.’ So I make sure to say it to Mia, because a positive physical outlook has to start at an early age.” – Kate Winslet Of feeding this body image to the general public Result of promoting this Body Image PNI Activity
Plastic Surgery
Weaves FACT: "One in three South African women bleach their skin." -Fihlani (2012, BBC News) Examples of Public Figures Examples of Alterations Tinkerbell Princess Jasmine Ariel and the corporations associated with them In the popular children’s stories and fairy tales: Cinderella, Snow-White, Sleeping Beauty or even Aladdin, the good characters are often depicted as being beautiful, thin, and attractive; and are usually the ones that are sociable, kind, happy and successful. Magazines and Media Demi Lovato Miley Cyrus The result of feeding this image to the general public, turns the general demographic of the Western World to participate in extreme eating
habits and disorders. Some of these include but are not limited to:
- Binge eating
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulima nervosa "Obesity Epidemic" Eating Disorders
and Steroids Moreover, current data are highly equivocal in their support for claims of an epidemic. For example, the average population weight gain in the US in the past 42 years is 10.9 kg or 0.26 kg a year.4 Yet, between 1999-2000 and 2001-2002, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, there were no significant changes in the prevalence of overweight or obesity among US adults or in the prevalence of overweight among children.
(Hedley AA, 1999-2002) Michael Messner: Barbie Girls vs. Sea Monsters American Youth Soccer Organization
•Separated boys and girls as young as 5 into segregated teams
•This was done as a ‘natural’ reaction to children separating at half time into boy groups and girl groups
•Adults adopted this as a natural tendency, and implemented it at the policy level
Kiri Davis: A Girl Like Me Re-created Dr. Kenneth Clark’s experiment that contributed to school desegregation in the U.S.
‘Brown vs. Board of Education’ used the experiment to illustrate that segregation had lasting harmful effects on children and this was unconstitutional “To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely to ever be undone” – Chief Justice Earl Warren (Benjamin, 193)
Margaret Beale Spencer For children, the most significant lessons take place from observed behavior
People find it easy to believe that society is colour blind
Certain minority groups are set up for failure because of:
Tendencies to put faith in socially constructed sets of beliefs and criteria that are unjust
These lead to disparities that exist in the outcomes of children

There is a need for us to examine the self
Both collective self and individual self
Injustices that exist because of the way we interact socially are left unaddressed and they become loopholes that children fall into by observing the way adults behave, talk, and live
Possible First Steps toward a Solution Spencer Continues... Children notice things that adults talk about, but they take careful note of the things we don’t talk about
Unless we challenge the issues that often get swept out of the realm of conversations, we won’t make changes in what our children pick up on
Before children consolidate their learning from hearing things, they watch us living our beliefs
Children always notice when you do something that is different from what you say
Why can we not ‘walk the talk’ and live the way we speak?
There is a systemic injustice that exists for people who are coloured, poor, immigrants, members of minority groups, and even those with certain body types
Disney along with many other companies listed previously
They control so much of the media that many people can potentially get sued for "bad-mouthing" Disney corp.
In the end it's all about the profit earned from promoting these body types and images to the public - won't stop unless it no longer benefits them
Every day the mainstream corporate media provide audiences with a subliminal instructional manual for how to empathize with certain endangered women’s bodies, while overlooking others. What is Justice?
When it comes to body counts, which bodies “count”? News treatments of child abductions in the USA show a particularly glaring bias in favour of cases featuring young white females
76%of child abductions featured on CNN were white children, although only 53% of abductees are white.
Words used often when topics of indigenous or native issues arise in the media tend to focus primarily on a select few notions.
Because the News media is taken in as fact by the masses, it seeps into our daily conversation and we as Canadians then repeat this manufactured propaganda to each other. When so many people repeat the same rhetoric over and over we believe it to be true. CONSUME..REGURGITATE…REPEAT.

Over 500 native women have gone missing in Canada in the last 30 years. And yet we as collective Canadians only show disbelief and care when there is a face of a white damsel in distress plastered on the television until her or her body is found.
Vancouver Police, in relation to the Pig farmer serial killer murders, said “that detectives have to investigate the possibility of a suicide or drug overdose that has gone undiscovered, o that women were killed in a dispute over drugs” Language as a Weapon Who benefits? And why does it matter?

Canada as a nation state benefits. Multinational corporations and our GDP benefits from land and resource exploitations.

The beauty industry benefits when models or actors put on a “redface” to sell themselves.
Self analyses
Direct Action
How do we resist? In the popular children’s stories and fairy tales: Cinderella, Snow-White, Sleeping Beauty or even Aladdin, the good characters are often depicted as being beautiful, thin, and attractive; and are usually the ones that are sociable, kind, happy and successful.
In contrast, “the bad-guy” is conveyed more readily to obesity, cruelty, and generally unattractive qualities
Media and storytelling aimed at children depict an unrealistic thin body image that is only attainable to a miniscule proportion of our population. How storytelling promotes body image Ben Richards
Mubarak Cheema
AJ Abujen
Chandni Ram
Nadia Khan
Asha Dhanoa
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