Article: The Pressures of Media and Society on Body Image

May 31, 2010 at 9:44 am 2 comments

Copyright.

It has become hugely evident over the years the change and shift in the way women view themselves and their bodies. We’ve become a totally media dominated world and whether we’d like to admit it or not, we’re all influenced by the things we see and hear.
Body Image is something that is constantly causing a stir and creating controversy. No matter how we try to avoid it, we are surrounded by magazines bearing covers with beautiful, stick-thin models wearing the latest “trends”, with stand out headlines on how we can “Burn Fat Faster Now!” or “Lose 5kg’s by Friday!”. Television shows such as “The Hills” and “Vanity Lair” show us the only way to be beautiful, memorable and successful is to look a certain way. It seems that we’re never ever good enough.

The pressure has just been constantly increasing, whether it’s a conscious act or subconscious. There have been magazines that have tried to create more publicity for themselves by advertising that they’re starting a “body love” movement to give us the idea they’re changing and advertising “real” women. There was one magazine that advertised on their front cover that the cover-girl was untouched and realistic. Well, how realistic was it really? The cover girl happened to be the former Miss Universe, so of course she would look absolutely beautiful just as she is! What kind of message is this sending out to all of their readers? That even untouched we should look absolutely perfect?

Looks like that magazine took two steps back as opposed to one step forward.

It seems ironic to me that through all this publicity of employing a healthy body image, the media are presenting us with photos of perfectly healthy looking celebrities, and making a huge issue out of calling them “fat” or saying they’ve “let themselves go” just because they gained a few extra kilograms. How is that supposed to make us feel? Take for example, Mischa Barton. This A-lister has a love-hate relationship with the media for the different lights in which they show her. One minute they say she’s looking “frail and gaunt” and the next they claim she’s “bloated and barely recognizable”, what about those women out there who are naturally that size? How would they react to reading such things? It sounds like like the media need to make a decision about which angle they’re going to come from- healthy body image? Or over-analysing weight fluctuation and size?

My own experience with the pressures of media and society on body image has not been a pleasant one. I’ve battled with disordered eating due to hating my body shape because i’m of the curvier end of the spectrum, not one to be highly praised and sought after. I would starve myself for days on end and then become miserable and so depressed because I was hungry, tired and obviously seeing no results that I’d give up and binge on unhealthy foods that would give me instant satisfaction, but make me feel worse in the long run. It took a very long time before I was able to separate myself from the media and societal pressures to learn to love myself in the skin I’m in, and I was only able to achieve that after adopting a healthy eating and regular exercise routine. Because of the way our views of body image have been manipulated and warped, what should come so easy to us- a healthy frame of mind- now requires extensive work to achieve.

It’s hugely disheartening to see the changes that have been made to the way women view themselves over the years, it’s tragic that beautiful women are unable to recognize their amazing qualities because they’re too caught up in stressing over what they ate for lunch or whether they’ll fit into a size 8 pair of jeans.
We shouldn’t be focusing on the “ideal” body shape or weight, which is simply unattainable for the vast majority of females. How long can we sit around and allow this brain-washing to happen? When is someone truly going to take a stand and start transforming the way we view ourselves? Let’s hope it’s soon because sooner or later the damage will be irreversible.

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Entry filed under: Body Confidence, film/media, life. Tags: , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sonya  |  June 4, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Jenny,

    Well-written post. You are a thinker. It really is amazing how our media tries to mess with us. My husband and I have been trying to counter their messages with a book of our own called “Just As I Am”. There’s a web gallery of images and stories on our site anyways. You may find them inspiring (nudity involved).

    All the best in your journey to womanhood!

    Sonya

    Reply
  • 2. caitlin simm  |  September 3, 2010 at 3:04 am

    this is a great storie, and it really is shocking how the media can influience you. because the picture of the girl looking in the mirror was shocking to.

    Reply

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Introducing…

Hey there, my name's Jenny. I have a huge passion for cooking/baking, writing, yoga and photography. I love nature and my favourite thing to do is spend an entire day outside, breathing in crisp, fresh air. Even better if I have a pen and paper with me. I started out running in March 2009 but sustained an injury in October 2009 which has unfortunately prevented me from running. I've been experimenting with other kinds of exercise to find another one that clicks. Follow me on my journey to maintaining good health + surviving high school and pursuing a career in Journalism. I Hope you enjoy reading my blog!

Questions? Comments? Email me at jennyeatliverun@hotmail.com

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