Society’s standards for body shape and the importance of beauty is promoted by various media. The media links beauty to symbols of happiness, love and success for women. Media depicts these images as achievable and real. Until women accept their body image, they will continue to measure themselves against societies “perfect image. ” Media representations of body image as well as parental attitudes contribute to social trends of unhealthy lifestyles. Female children learn to worry about their appearance from an early age. Huge uantities of girls between the ages of three and ten have one or more Barbie dolls.
On television children are bombarded with commercials showing tall and thin women promoting dieting products and leading a “dream” life. Being exposed to numerous “perfect” female images causes girls trying to conform to an unrealistic image. Parental messages about appearance also have large impacts on young girls. According to the article, “You’re Mirror Image? A daughter often reflects a mother’s Unhealthy obsession with weight, Francine Russo states that “Study after study as found that mothers who are fixated on their body image are more likely to have daughters with eating disorders than less self-conscious moms” (234). It goes on to say, “Sure, you can blame the media for imposing a parade of surgically enhanced pop icons on your impressionable child, but the real danger to her self-image comes from closer to home-you! ” (234). Russo claims that the way in which a person gets their poor body image and low self-esteem is from the way that their parents act and feel about themselves. She also says that, “daughters are watching their mothers.
They observe you trying on jeans, overhearing you grousing to your friends. They notice what you eat. If you declare yourself “good” for eating only salad and ‘bad’ for eating cookies, they will judge their own goodness and badness the same way” (235). Another common method to lose weight is to diet. This can lead to bulimia and anorexia. Bulimia is characterized by episodes of dieting and bingeing, getting rid of the food and fat consumed by vomiting, as well as intense fear of fat and weight gain. Anorexia is characterized by starvation dieting, excessive xercising, unhealthy weight and also an intense fear of fat.
Both bulimia and Anorexia can make you very ill and can also be fatal. Currently these self destructive methods are reinforced for the transition towards a “perfect” image. Media covers their negative images with slogans that many people will find appealing. Media’s images of women have a negative impact on self-esteem and subconsciously sets them back. There will always be someone more “beautiful” if women compare themselves to the inhuman images portrayed in media. Women should feel confident about who they are.