We, the American public are hit from every imaginable direction every waking moment of our lives by slick advertising agencies trying to coerce us into or tell us why we need to buy their products. Their products will make us happier or thinner, or prettier. The advertisers often use the picture of youth and vitality so that the public will associate that particular product or service with being young and beautiful. They do this because of course in our society youth and beauty are to be coveted. Everyone would like to be forever young and beautiful or for as long as they can anyway. So, everyone is trying to look younger or wants to look younger. The things that we can associate with youth are obvious. We see the picture of youth and beauty everywhere. Look in any magazine, Watch TV, see billboards, everywhere you turn we see young, beautiful people. Youth is synonymous with beauty so little wonder why when you read this bumper sticker “few women admit their age, few men act it” a lot of women won’t divulge their age. To do so would be to admit they are perhaps older than they look or if we were to know their real age we might say something (hopefully to ourselves) like “jeez, she looks a lot older than that!”
The media is really the one at work that shapes a lot of our attitudes and beliefs. They might not necessarily be healthy attitudes and beliefs but they are the ones that have been shoved in front of our faces from the day we were born. Believe me, they know how powerful and influential they (the media) can be.
The most disturbing thing to me about advertising is the ideal female body they use. It is absolutely tight, contained, bolted down. Being thin is not enough. Women need to be in shape as well. Obtaining that body becomes a matter of self-control. It illustrates to me that they are saying thin women are in control. They have mastered the discipline of dieting and exercise. It is the fat women who are not in control. Fat has become associated with laziness and lack of self-discipline.
Of the statistics that I ran across while researching this topic said that eighty percent of girls between the ages of eight and twelve are on a diet. The number one wish of most women and girls is to loose weight. Media presents images that tell woman and girls that acceptance means being unnaturally thin. The average fashion model,...
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...than among males.
The ideals of female beauty have not always been inbodied in the figure of most of today’s “super models” whose bodies resemble that of a young boy, not a woman. Figures like that of Marilyn Monroe, which today are considered fat, were the ideals of the time thirty years ago.
It seems difficult to dispute that the attainment of the slender ideal is very painful for many women. in light of the statistics given earlier (only five percent of women can achieve the ideal fashion model form), it is an impossible task for women to pursue. Women develop a highly damaging relationship with food that does very little except limit their lives.
Advertising has served as a disciplinary force in the lives of women. Advertisers create images that dictate cultural trends indicative of the time. The dominating image of the painfully thin woman in advertising remains the ideal for the American women. The grim truth is that attaining the slender body of today is not realistic for most women. Their bodies are not naturally shaped like those of twelve-year old boys. Eating disorders are on the rise, and the relationship women have with food is becoming an increasingly dangerous one.
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