Women and the Media: The Influence of Magazines, and such...

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The World of Advertising By: Wordpress.com

Everywhere we turn, advertising is telling people, women especially, what it means to be desirable. Many of these messages share a common theme: women must be “beautiful.”. Women have always been measured against cultural ideals of beauty, but advertising often uses sexism to make images of “ideal beauty” more prevalent and increasingly unattainable. Twenty years ago, the average model only weighed 8% less than the average woman, whereas the average model today weighs 23% less. Most models today are thinner than 95% of the population. In a recent study by Dove, the researches found that out of the survey respondents, only 2% considered themselves to be “beautiful.” Many researchers argue that the unrealistic portrayal of women in the media can be detrimental to advertisement viewer’s health. Studies show that advertisements of ultra-thin women increases a viewer’s body-focused anxiety.


They say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Today, we notice that beauty has been transformed to be what the society considers it to be. While Dove tries to sway from the image that women should be stick thin, many other media conglomerates refuse to portray women in a healthy light.

There seems to be an extreme body image issue here. It is apparent that, although some women do fit the stereotypical beauty ideal, many of them continue to have low self-esteem. This shows that even when some women do accomplish the ideal look, they continue to be dissatisfied with themselves. It is obvious that we can not please everyone. As soon as a guideline is set for how women should look, there are and will always be those who are dissatisfied with their appearance. This is the reason why women should first work on their body image, how they perceive themselves, and from there, decide what the best look for them should be.

Once that has been accomplished, the decision to lose or gain weight should be left up to the woman, not the way others, the media, want her to look. If women start to make their own decisions as to how they want to look, then the media will take notice. This would probably lead to a more diverse representation of women in the future.


Andrik said...

Darling C.:
This is an interesting post. However, I'm curious about what you think about the questions posed at the end of the article to which you linked. Do you think that ads are a major cause of women's own physical anxiety? It's easy to say that it is advertisers who make women self-conscious, but remember that at the end of the day, an advertiser will do what sells. So, what came first, the demeaning ad, or the consumers responding to the ad?

The interesting thing about Dove is that the company seems to be in a contradiction. It is a company that sells beauty (personal) products, but it is seemingly telling women not to worry about beauty. How can that be? It's like a car company telling people they should buy bicycles. So what is Dove doing?

Jessie said...

Hi Darling-
Nice Response to this post!
I would just add that you might want to be a bit more specific about the source of the original post, and also the terminology you use. I think you are dead on with the ideas you expressed in your comment that you left. However, you may want to use (self-esteem or another term to express one's assessment of oneself) more specific terminology for your response. I understood what you meant in your comment; however, I'm not sure that it's entirely clear to the reader. Overall, I think you chose a great blog for commenting on and made an appropriate, on-point comment :o)

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