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Over the decades since the media has changed society and become influential on both men and women. The television shows and films are a form of escape because we use it to get lost in the lives of the characters and actors. However, it has some negative impacts on our lives. Although its purpose was to provide entertainment, it has left men and women with unrealistic ideologies of beauty specifically the women. The ideal women have been portrayed as the beautiful busty bombshell, for example, Marilyn Monroe.
Women are beautiful all shapes and sizes. However, in films and media, there seems to be an unrealistic ideal that we all are perfectly portioned or slim with piercing blue eyes or blonde, busty with curves. The portrayal in media has influenced the audiences, especially young girls, with a false idea of beauty. The perception of perfect projected through media has resulted in eating disorders and struggles with self-acceptance.
It’s tough looking at the beautiful models, actresses, and people, it’s impossible not to compare yourself to others.
The media have emphasized the beauty and distinct features that make a woman beautiful on several platforms such as the following: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, the altered images and clips from the greatest hits of an individual’s life “can often reinforce existing feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness as well as lead to increased isolation.” (Mirror Mirror) I won’t deny that there have been instances where I’ve questioned what I’m doing in my life because I would compare myself to others on platforms like Instagram, it’s easy to doubt yourself and wish for more a higher status, one that leads to success and wealth.
A popular platform that thrives off the perception of perfect is Instagram. It’s a platform that allows individuals to post images and clips of their lives. It’s a popular platform for companies to reach out to individuals for sponsorships to advertise their products such as clothes, weight loss products, etc. Who are the faces of these sponsorships? Celebrities, models, or people with large followings and particular features such as slim and beautiful, fitness influencers, or curvy bombshell-all symbolic interactionism. It caters to the focus of sexuality, the purpose of the image is to appeal and draw in attention whether through physical features or being a well-known celebrity.
Men and women could both be victims to the perception of beauty. However, it’s more likely in young girls due to puberty and the changes occurring with their bodies. They are more vulnerable and impressionable because they “do not see the reality of their body size” (Eating Disorders) and feel like they aren’t good enough. It’s not a surprise to hear one might be insecure about their body, but it’s dangerous during such a fragile stage. They don’t truly understand that skinny doesn’t determine whether you are beautiful. You can be both beautiful and thin, but these young girls are pursuing the idea that skinny equals beauty. It’s important to utilize social media and encourage these “young women to express themselves and gain support” (Eating Disorders) to help them accept their bodies regardless of the shape and size because there is no perfect body. “Social media can be of great comfort to some people with eating disorders by giving them a connection to others” (Mirror Mirror) for comfort, support, or reassurance that they aren’t alone-we all struggle, sometimes.
The media can easily take a stand and make changes as to how they portray women in society, because not every woman is going to be a bombshell beauty or a flexible athlete-it doesn’t make them any less beautiful. The media has greatly influenced society, especially to young teens. The continuous portrayal of “unattainable beauty” throughout social media and films had left teens questioning their self-worth and “body image.” (NEDA) As a young lady growing up, I’ve experienced similar concerns about my body-even my self-worth. I questioned what I had to offer because I was chunky but active. Although I had extra body fat, I was muscular and actively involved with sports in school. However, I didn’t look like any of my cousins or teen girls in films or television shows. I began to feel insecure and ashamed of my body especially with the harsh, hurtful words from family. There was a pressure for me to look the same as my relatives, to be tall and slim-I couldn’t be more different. I began to hate my body as many other young girls do during such a fragile time. We believe losing weight will make us happy and gain “positive attention” or “likes” on social and popularity to feel worthy. It seems to be a natural thing we, humans, do-the the constant need to be better and more than what you are. The act of questioning your body image isn’t limited to young teens, but men and women experience this as well. According to a survey by CED, “40% of male respondents” and 21% of female respondents answered ‘yes’ to leaving harsh comments on Facebook about their bodies. It’s easy to criticize yourself and compare yourself to others, but it’s essential to recognize that we are all beautiful with unique qualities others admire too.
With all that in mind, it’s important to remember that the media portrayal of beauty is unrealistic and unattainable because its sole purpose is to appeal to the audience to allow us to live in a world where things are beautiful and glamorous. Not every woman will be a curvy gal and not every man will have a six-pack. The media has created a visually appealing image for entertainment purposes. The media will always be a community of altered images, retouched photos, and clips for advertisements and marketing purposes. It’s impossible to meet their standards-it’s not real or natural. We are all victims to the perception of beauty, specifically, young teens (girls). They have trouble adjusting to the changes experienced from puberty. It’s difficult to understand that not everyone will look the same or be the same. Some of these young girls develop eating disorders as a result of wanting to be “normal” or feel ashamed that their bodies are not like those in movies, television shows, or on social media platforms like Instagram. It’s difficult seeing celebrities and models who are praised and worships for their bodies and features being defined as beautiful and comparing themselves to find that they don’t share the same features. It’s critical that we use the media to convey a positive message one that celebrates our differences and praises all body types. There is no defined body for beauty, and we should use this platform to support one another. Real men and women have different shapes and sizes. We are all beautiful regardless if they’ve met these standards portrayed in the media or not beauty is you.
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