Societal Standards of Feminine Beauty

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While women have made historical strides in the past decades, the culture at large is bound to the narcissistic constraints about how women should look. These unattainable beauty standards, largely proliferated through the media, have drastic impacts on women and their body image. Societal standards of feminine beauty are presented in all forms of popular and alternative media, bombarding women with images that portray the ideal body. Such standards of beauty are almost completely far-fetched for most women. A majority of the celebrities and models seen on television and in advertisements are well below what is considered normal for American women. “The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds, while the average American models is 5’ 11” tall and weighs 117 pounds. Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women” (Being Truly Beautiful). Research conducted by Westminster College provides factual evidence that three theories are primarily responsible for the negative mindset of the average American women in comparison to the average model. These theories include: social comparison, cultivation and self-schema. These three theories are indicative of the images seen in reality television, magazines and advertisements. Each perspective has helped researchers examine mechanisms by which the media images are translates into the body image disturbance in women. The Swan, a 2004 reality television show program broadcasted on FOX, in which women who were judged to be visually unappealing were given extreme makeover that included several forms of plastic surgery. The title of the show was a derivative from the fairy tale The Ugly Ducking, in which a homely bird matures into a stunning swan. The images seen on ... ... middle of paper ... ...hensive Liberal Arts College in Salt Lake City, UT, Offering Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees in Liberal Arts and Professional Programs, including Business, Nursing, Education and Communication. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. . Thompson, J. K., & Coovert, M. D. (1999). Body image, social comparison, and eating disturbance: A covariance structure modeling. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 26(1), 43-51. Thompson, J. K., & Heinberg, L. J. (1999). The media's influence on body image disturbance and eating disorders: We've reviled them, now can we rehabilitate them? Journal of Social Issues, 55(2), 339-353. Tiggemann, M., & Slater, A. (2004). Thin ideals in music television: A source of social comparison and body dissatisfaction. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 35(1), 48-58.
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