Stereotypes, Stereotyping and Ideals Essay

Stereotypes, Stereotyping and Ideals Essay

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Various sources indicate that female body images presented through models, mannequins, and even Barbie dolls are strikingly deviant from the actual female form. One such example occurs in the January 1998 issue of Marie Claire magazine, which states that the average American woman is 5’4” and a size 12. She has a 37-inch bust, a 29-inch waist, and 40-inch hips. A mannequin is 6 feet tall, a size 6, with measurements of 34-23-34. A life-size Barbie doll would be 7’2,” with bust, waist, and hip measurements of 40-22-36, respectively. A woman of these measurements would have to walk on all fours to balance her disproportionate body. Considering that Barbie’s physical characteristics are outrageous and ultimately unattainable, how has she come to be an “icon” of femininity (duCille 101)? Girls and women across the country look to Barbie as a beautiful ideal, and strive for a body like hers. As a result, many battle endlessly with dieting, eating disorders, distorted body images, and low self-esteem. In addition to physical standards put forth by Barbie, models, and mannequins, girls and women must also comply with given gender norms. Not only must they achieve an ideal body type, but also ideal femininity. As a result, several points must be addressed. Primarily, one ought to consider gender as an inherent biological distinction versus gender as an ongoing fabrication due to one’s actions. Although evidence may be provided to argue that gender is an innate characteristic, I will show that it is actually a result of one’s actions, which are then labeled masculine or feminine according to society’s definitions of ideal gender. Furthermore, I will discuss the communication of such definitions through the media, specifically in music vide...


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...nsin State Journal SHOWCASE P. F5. 11 Nov 2001, Sunday. Copyright 2001 Madison Newspapers, Inc.

Kinney, Terry A.; Smith, Brian A.; Donzella, Bonny. “The Influence of Sex, Gender, Self-Discrepancies, and Self-Awareness on Anger and Verbal Aggressiveness Among U.S. College Students.” Journal of Social Psychology. Vol. 141 Issue 2 (Apr. 2001): p245, 31p.

Leive, Cynthia, ed. Glamour Nov. 2001.

Myers, David G. Social Psychology, Seventh Edition. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2002.

Norwood, Mandi, ed. Mademoiselle Sept. 2001.

Timson, Judith. “What’s a Girl to Do?” Maclean’s. Vol. 114 Issue 36 (9/3/2001): p44, 5p.

West, Candace, and Zimmerman, Don H. “Doing Gender.” Shaping Discourses: Reading for University Writers. Ed. April Lidinsky, et. al. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2002. 475-501.

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