American Popular Culture Daniel Villalobos SOC/105 University of Phoenix June 29, 2011 Roger Fike American Popular Culture There is not a single definition that will describe culture since it evolves and goes for the same as beauty. Without a doubt, there is no answer to the definition of beauty, yet beauty is heavily involved and, associated in today’s media. Media is likely to have an enormous potent effect to the average man or woman about criterions of beauty, forcing the definition of beauty to a new height because beauty never stops evolving and tends to play a very important role in the life of young teenagers and adults.
Retailer catalogs such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Victoria’s Secret tend to feature airbrushed, scantily clad and altered photos of male and female models. Beauty pageants, fashion shows, the Internet, and movies have swamped the public with two-dimensional pictures of beautiful icons and celebrities. There are even television shows that have joined the delegation, playing a role in the image that it portrays such as Skin Deep, The Swan, and Extreme Makeover.
America heavily relies on mass media to play a role in molding Americas view of the definition of beauty and reshaping culture at the same time.
In present-day society, with the ever-changing idea that portrays images beauty, people rely on the media to help them find the latest trends on how to look and what to wear to stay “in fashion”. According with Hume (1742), “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
Perhaps a more modern-day accurate definition would be, “Beauty is in the eye of the media. ” One may say that a beauty standard that is portrayed in present-day media does more negative societal harm than positive images.
Even though the allegations tends to lean forward on acknowledging that fact that media does indeed influence ‘harmful-images,” there is not a strong, stable public outcry against media portraying these false and harmful images. Time and cultures has a major role in the standards of beauty. In Victorian ages, social status was determined on the appearance which one portrays. Women who were to be considered ‘overweight, obese and fat’ in present-day today, had a higher social status.
Woman who were considered “plump” were considered of a healthy and a higher class distinction. Artist back then even painted some of the famous women in history having a voluptuous body figure in which present-day, would be diffidently frowned upon the media. An example, Jessica Simpson showed some physical “plumpness” in one of her concerts not too long ago. All of the sudden the media went insane and cameras were focused all of their attention on Jessica Simpson. Scolding and embarrassing her, which was not necessary, just because she gained weight.
Back then also, pale skin was more preferred than tanned skin because a person who appeared to have a dark tone skin indicated he or she is laborer working in the field. In the media today, tanned skin indicated that the person is of higher status because of the quality leisure time he or she spent into tanning. In China, Women who had small, often delicate feet were of higher status. This resulted in women binding their feet, painfully uncomfortable, to achieve the standards that he or she are accustomed to. Society often draws a parallel to what is considered healthy in the standards of beauty.
During times when food was scarce, society believed that woman who were heavier were more desirable and healthier, while women who were skinny and slender were considered unhealthy and suffering from malnutrition. In the eye of today’s media, the view on obesity is portrayed as highly unattractive and the basis of serious health risks such as a stroke, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. Studies have also proved that women who were obese often had more difficulty bearing children because of health risk.
Ironically, studies have also debunked the fact that slenderness is a way to live a healthier life. Now as society becomes heavier and heavier, women who are portrayed in the media are much slimmer. Beauty is undeniably fascinated in American culture, when beauty starts being used from a business point of view, sexuality and beauty sells. Media and the advertisers use beautiful models and celebrities in advertisements to promote and sell, the fascination of beauty is still plays a major roll.
Whether its sell everything from cloths to beverages and cars, there are still the underlying fact that advertisers and the media rely on the beauty in the celebrity and model. One example would be in sports such as football, which exploits women such as Cheerleaders and the Bikini models portrayed on Sports Illustrated magazines to advertise and sell products. Social life, youth and beauty have also been greatly affected by looks, celebrities and beautiful models have raised the status quo for the rest of present-day society and most likely the future.
Much of society who are largely concerned about appearance must achieve that attractiveness and young look in order to acquire and maintain a social life, attract a mate and even to remain in the job market. Once or if the celebrity looks more beautiful after a cosmetic procedure, the public also seems to accept it. As cosmetics carries its influence into society, people are more likely to be acquire an idea that one day one may drive for self-improvement especially the older generation of society.
One time in history when Pamela Anderson and her cleavage became popular within the media, women turned to get cosmetic surgery to acquire that cleavage just to maintain that status of being in touch with society. Standards of Beauty from a Negative Perspective Present-day society of men, women and adolescents has definitely been shaped by mass media. Some may even say that society appeared to be suffering from a serious case of identity crisis. Americans in the millions, particularly women, have struggled between two opposite ends of confidence and insecurity after undergoing plastic surgery.
The concern and pressure to be thin, young and beautiful was becoming major part of Western society that it actually influenced people to take extreme measure so that he or she can acquire the ideal standard of beauty while sacrificing health, finances and even the risk of losing their own life. While the media did not bamboozle all of society to get cosmetic surgery, there are those who simply do not meet the financial requirements needed for the surgery and have no choice but to carry their ‘flaws’ often struggling with a low self-image.
Without a doubt there are those who are obsessed, wasting and spending millions on surgery, beauty supplies, diet supplements, dental work, and other self improving procedures. While people in general just want to feel and acquire that self respect and positive image, there are millions of Americans who try to live up to dangerous and unrealistic standards. While being thin make one happy for a while, and while surgery may improve how a person looks to some extent, for people to understand that real beauty comes from within the inner self is very important.
Particularly women must change their priority of improving their own self-image and not worry about what society influences on what one should look like. Once a woman is able to acknowledge her own inner beauty and self-worth, she is the more than capable to be and feel happy regardless of her appearance. For a woman to acquire a state of well being one need to have inner strength and emotional maturity traits, which beauty makeovers and surgery will not help in acquiring those traits.
The argument is not to fall towards the side in which ‘all’ woman should not strive to improve appearance, but instead to be cautious about one’s own health and not to neglect his or her own inner spirit and strength in the process. One needs to always remember that there is no amount of high-fashion clothing, make up and plastic surgery can stop the inevitable aging process. One may even request a procedure to prolong the appearance of the youth image but the fact still remains beauty will fade at one point in time.
Sure, one can look back and say how gorgeous and beautiful, but will it really matter anymore? Everyone at one point in their lifetime is going to reach and face old age, which also is a step closer to eternal happiness and rest; the stone garden. For some people, once he or she achieves the state of old age, the usual response is that he or she is at the happiest point of their life. This response may be influenced by the fact that there is no pressure to look beautiful and that he or she has acknowledge that appearance is no longer a priority or an important factor.