Beauty: The Media Profits by Making Girls Hate Themselves Essay

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Beauty is a cruel mistress. Every day, Americans are bombarded by images of flawless women with perfect hair and smooth skin, tiny waists and generous busts. They are presented to us draped in designer clothing, looking sultry or perky or anywhere in between. And although the picture itself is alluring, the reality behind the visage is much more sinister. They are representations of beauty ideals, sirens that silently screech “this is what a woman is supposed to look like!” Through means of media distribution and physical alteration, technology has created unrealistic beauty ideals, resulting in distorted female body images. Female beauty ideals are an overwhelming force in teen media. Approximately 37% of articles …show more content…
Advertisements are a powerful medium through which beauty ideals are impressed on us. Although often dismissed as filler material, advertisements are planned and purposeful tools that allow content. In 1999, $180 billion were spent on advertising, money that greased the wheel, drawing consumers to products while paying content providers. At that time, the average American intake of advertisements was estimated at 3,000 ads per day. Prominent image advertising expert Jean Kilbourne has pointed out that, more than telling us what we should buy, “To a great extent advertising tells us who we are and who we should be.” Who are we? Not perfect. Who should we be? That supermodel, there. The kicker is that many of the images women aspire to are not achievable through any natural means. A portion of the $180 billion paid graphic artists to digitally edit out imperfections and reshape even the most desirable women to make them more appealing to the eye. The strain to transform is especially prominent in female advertising ideals. According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), “fashion models weigh 23 percent less than the average female, although these representations are perceived to be normal.” This is less of a passive suggestion for women to be thin when one gives credence to women’s magazines having “10.5 times more advertisements and articles promoting weight loss than men's magazines.”

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