Mass media Essay
Since television has been one of the most influential tools of mass media, there is an increase in concern over children’s changing image of ideal body of women as experienced through mass media. The kind of women and the body that they should take is increasingly becoming unrealistic. Since children today spend a large chunk of their time watching television, the mass media images may alter the perception of children in terms of the realities of female body. This is especially important in the light of the fact that 86 percent of advertisements occurring between television shows use women as image model.
The exposure of children to models as advertisers really affects their perception in terms of attractiveness, desirability, personal worth and success. This could make children link thinness as directly related to these positive characteristics (Burggraf and Fouts, 1999, p. 27). Another important issue in terms of the way the female body is emerging in mass media is the increased commodification of women. The plethora of economic developments and the rise of consumerism have made women devalued once more through making women as effective tools for advertising (Atwood, 1992, p.
23). Studies on the role of women in advertising have shown that many commodities in the period of increased commercialization have directly linked women to many commodities. The rise in commercial culture produced newer codes of consumer practices and has pushed the integration of sex into advertisement. “This means that even as the tea-drinking woman became an exemplar of restrained, properly domesticized femininity, the sugared tea she drank from fragile, luxurious, china cups retained a disturbing connection to a more transgressive version of her sexed body” (Sussman, 1998, p.
6). One of the major points expressed in various literatures involve feminist discourse that the female body is increasingly becoming exploited. Many of the products today are being advertised not in relation to their function but as a seductive come-on to entice consumers to buy the product because of the element of sex. The female body, thus, in the process becomes mere commodity. The main attraction for many advertisers is not to connect the value with the function of the product. The emphasis is increasingly connected with the female body and the air of sex that it emits.
The female quest for thinness rest upon both Western ideals of individual control of the body and the economic abundance that provides most people with enough to eat. Cultures in fear of starvation have historically favored larger body mass. However one looks at it though, the women’s body continues to be a fascination of man which is utilized by media to promote its own ends. Over the long haul, that translates to a deterioration of values and women’s true role in society and thus deserves deeper thought and rightful action.
As a solution to this, there is a need to consider that the female body not as primarily directed towards male. Despite the changes in the society today, which increased the accessibility of work that was previously occupied by men, females have increased their dependency on men (Trahair, 1989, p. 23). The production of material wealth is necessarily a masculine interest and the women in corporate world is a clear sign that women performing corporate jobs are just basically slave of the interests of men to produce more wealth and good for the society.
This inclusion of women comes with a high price. The price is coming from the fact that while they are encouraged to pursue success in their careers and in their jobs, they are still unable to achieve the kind of success that men enjoy in society (Trahair, 1989, p. 23). In this regard, women feel that once again the kind of work that they are doing is undervalued. In the process, they become even more dependent on men in terms of boosting their self-esteem. This only creates a cycle of psychological struggle and suffering.
Secondly, there is also a need to emphasize the fact that men still control the economic activity in both the private and public sphere. Indeed, the image of the female body in mass media has been increasingly distorted. On the one hand, the mass media’s ideal of the female body is increasingly becoming unattainable and distorted. This could create problems about women’s self-esteem, and the change in the real meaning of success and attractiveness. On the other hand, the mass media is creating a consumer culture and uses the female body to achieve the goals of sales.
Either way it is quite unfortunate that in both ways, it is the female body, which would suffer. There is a need to shift the perspective away from the changing ideal of the female body. This will definitely be a difficult task for the society as the plethora of magazines and other forms of mass media is becoming more and more complex. It is important that the feminist groups start to get up from their long hibernation. A complex awareness program that would educate women about the value of the body and self-esteem will definitely be a good starting point.
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