Body image

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A review of the societal impact on body image in women.

Text of Body image

1. Body Image The Contest You Did Not Sign Up For 2. Pretty Little girls Girls learn very early on what is expected of them. While boys are graded on whether they are strong or smart, women know that society expects them to be attractive. Women take to heart early on the message that we are valuable to society because of our looks. Our actions and abilities take second stage in the assessment of our worth as people. 3. LOOKISM Discrimination or prejudice against people based on their appearance. 4. Individual experience effects how women may feel about their own bodies. Racism, physical handicap, and hurtful comments about our bodies makes women feel more vulnerable and unsafe in their own skin. Women respond in different ways to criticism regarding body image. Some may be promiscuous, others have eating disorders or practice exercise bulimia, depression and cutting have also resulted as a response to criticism. 5. One of the most radical things a woman can do is love her body. 6. Women spend a lot of their time battling nature in a futile attempt to become the non-existent perfect woman. Billions of dollars are spent each year for cosmetic products and procedures. Women are pushed by magazine articles, cosmetic companies, and the fashion and diet industries to become the current ideal woman. Beauty for sale 7. The numbers $43 billion- the amount of money the cosmetic industry pulls in a year $1.5 billion- the amount of money spent on advertising the products 86%- the percentage of clients who obtain plastic surgery that are female 36-24-36: the mythical perfect size (size 10 bust, 2 waist, and 4 hips) 8. BARBIE LIVES IN KENS WORLD Thin women normally have small breasts because breasts require fat tissue. In order to obtain the ideal a regimen of starvation, liposuction, and breast augmentation is necessary. 9. BlondeS have more fun In the 1950s skin lighteners and hair straightening techniques were marketed to African Americans as a vehicle into white society. Mexican immigrants have experienced mercury poisoning from creams marketed to lighten skin. Women of color are placed at unnecessary risk as a result of using lightening creams daily. 10. Even though beauty is only skin deep attractive people are seen as more exciting, smart, and sociable. Women who are considered attractive have better job opportunities. Research tells us that children who are considered good looking are given special treatment as early as grade school. 11. Given the advantages good looking people supposedly have over less attractive people could we assume that they are happier? Studies indicate this is untrue and happiness has more to do with outlook than looks. Researchers also found that women who received breast implants were 3x more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the population. Happiness is a choice 12. The patriarchal society One of the main reasons women feel compelled to live up to the unachievable perfect woman status is because of the role of men in society. Feminists believe our unhealthy views on body image are the consequences of living in a male dominated society. In the patriarchal society, women gain status because of their relationships with men. So, in order to gain status we must be sexually appealing to men. Our society tells us to be sexy for men. The idea of keeping up appearances for men is so common we barely notice it anymore. 13. Pornography The pornography industry also perpetuates the idea that women be submissive to the sexual desires of men. Men now have 24/7 access to footage of women demonstrating this submission. One major consequence of this is the mindset toward woman that results because of exposure to this type of media. 14. Lies You never really get to see people naked in everyday life, but the media somehow has you believing that women actually do look the way they make them. People who are fed a steady diet of popular media images and pornographic images of women are misled as to how normal bodies actually look. The real woman somehow has become fake and imperfect. Women never really had to worry about what other women outside their community looked like until mass movies and photography came along. At that point, most of the women who were pictured were white and usually not over the age of forty. 15. Women with disabilities Women with disabilities are not usually pictured in the media. If they are, it is usually in a helpless or stereotypical heart of gold sense. They are rarely pictured as beautiful or sexual people. This picture published by ESPN is a rare depiction of a disabled woman available on the internet. 16. Do I look fat? There are 2 types of women: those who are fat and those who worry they are going to be. Society tells us overweight women are undesirable to men. Women need fat for the feminine features of breasts and hips. Women who are too thin cannot maintain a healthy pregnancy. Thinness and womens rights seem to coincide. As we gain more freedom we have been expected to become more thin. This phenomena has been thought to be the result of taking on a more male role in society. As our power as women increases our size must decrease. 17. ID RATHER GET HIT BY A TRUCK The ultimate shut down in a fight amongst girls is to call the other girl fat. Woman live in constant terror of gaining weight. Even pregnant women are scared of gaining weight. Many women take dangerous supplements or undergo risky procedures in order to avoid being fat. We spend $40 billion a year on supplements to make us not fat. In a pole over half of women said they would rather be hit by a truck than gain 150 pounds. Young girls learn bad habits surrounding eating early. 18. Women of color Women of color portrayed in the media usually emulate the white ideal. Many people believe women of color do not experience body image problems because predominately white women are pictured in the media. Some research shows that black women usually have higher body confidence than other races while other research indicated there is no difference. 19. GIRL POWER Young girls are exposed to the same type of advertising that many women are exposed to. Girls gain an average of 25 pounds of body fat in adolescence which is necessary for proper development. The cultural climate makes many of these young girls want to go on unnecessary diets. The media exploits the message that we can be what ever we want and belittles it to the point that it means we can wear what we want and have the perfect bod to show it off too. Parents can help by helping their daughters identify the ways the media looks through the male lens, teaching their daughters ways to be confident in their achievements, focusing on being healthy rather than skinny, and watching their own self talk. 20. AGING WELL Aging can sneak up on you and as you grow older the sense of self and body image change as well. Wrinkles symbolize our mortality and make us contemplate death. The loss of fertility may be difficult and unfortunately eating disorders are increasing in older women. In America women are fixated on youth and aging can be seen as a disease with a cure. The beauty industry is very happy with making us believe they can cure our aging bodies. If we refuse to play into the lie society has taught us about aging we can be happy and positive about life as we age. 21. "Beauty comes from a life well lived. If youve lived well, your smile lines are in the right places." - Jennifer Garner Jennifer Garner 22. The book mentioned some ways that women give into societies current ideals for women at a painfully high price through the example of brazilian waxing. Do you have an example that you would like to share of a price you or someone you know has paid? Parents play a big role in the way a young girl views her body. Can you share anything your parent(s) did or did not do that helped or harmed your body image? Parents play a big role in the way a young girl views her body. Can you share anything your parent(s) did or did not do that helped or harmed your body image? Parents play a big role in the way a young girl views her body. Can you share anything your parent(s) did or did not do that helped or harmed your bod