Female Body Image and the Mass Media Essay

1577 Words7 Pages
From the time they are born, girls are influenced by society as to who they should be, how they should look, and how they should act. Americans believe that women should be to a certain standard; pretty, feminine, and especially, thin. The pressures derive from family, media, and friends. Marge Piercy’s poem, “Barbie Doll” depicts a girl who was never recognized for her character and spent her life trying to be accepted for who she was, rather than how she looked. We live in a society with rigid gender roles and expectations as to how people are supposed to be, based completely on their sex. (Benokraitis) Women are expected to be the housewife, take care of the kids, and on top of all that they need to look good doing it. Men are the…show more content…
One study took a group of 6th grade girls and had them play with Barbie’s, then later asked them what their views of Barbie were: “They should make a fat one. They are all so skinny and that's mean to fat people. They are all perfect. They never do anything real in all the books [about Barbie dolls]. I think she does too much. Yeah, they are all perfect [and] it's just too much. I always thought Barbie was so cool; [as] I got older, I learned that it's impossible to be Barbie. She's been everywhere, [even] in outer space. She's the perfect blonde. She has the perfect blue eyes. She's like everything! If she was a real person she wouldn't be able to walk.” (Tara Kuther) The girls did realize that Barbie’s figure is not realistic since they are now older and felt that Barbie could stand to gain a few pounds. But at a younger age the girls did envy Barbie even though she would be very disproportionate if she were a real person. In Piercy’s poem, “Barbie Doll” the girl goes through puberty and has a really hard time with it. A classmate tells her she has a big nose and fat legs. It states that nobody noticed that she was healthy and intelligent, they just saw her culturally unacceptable body type. (643) Media is one of the biggest influences on little girls, “Children 8 to 10 spend about 5.5 hours a day using media.” (Szabo) There are so many influences on T.V. from the shows to commercials, that use sex to sell their product. Even
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