Body Image and Media
Image and the media The idea of the ‘perfect’ body is pasted everywhere in the media. Whether it’s on the catwalk, in Hollywood, or in glossy magazines, the message is clear: skinny is sexy, or if you’re a guy, six packs are definitely in. With these sorts of media messages bombarded at us every single day, it is pretty hard to be happy with our bodies and have high self-esteem, unless, you already have the body that the media and the fashion industry thinks is ideal. And so what is ‘ideal’? Well, for women it’s thin, long legs, relatively tall, flawless skin. For men it’s muscular, tall, and just look ‘manly’ in general.
There are many ways the media can influence us, whether it’s in TV shows or movies, magazines, and maybe even in the newspapers. However, the main culprit is definitely advertisements. Advertisements are especially dangerous because the people advertising the products can be easily manipulated into something more ‘beautiful’ then they already are. Pictures can be airbrushed, cropped, erased and merged to look like something completely different just like the picture below. The model’s waistline has shrunk dramatically, and her neck appears to be longer, she also has lighter skin and brighter eyes.
Pictures like these are then pasted everywhere to convince you to buy the products so you can look, or at least feel like whoever is advertising the products. This can have a detrimental effect on certain people buying the products, because not everything advertised is real. For example, you buy the shampoo that Miranda Kerr is advertising to make your hair stronger and more nourished. You use it at home and you don’t see much change. But then it hits you, you didn’t buy the shampoo because it said it was going to make your hair more nourished, you bought it just because Miranda Kerr was advertising it and you want to be and look like her.
The advertising industry knows these can be the behaviour of some consumers so they deliberately put a world renowned supermodel there so it can attract you. Some people may find that hard to come to terms with and they realise they are never going to look like or be like the people who advertise these products, just because they are using whatever is being promoted. By doing this, they are putting themselves down and can lead to other consequences like excessive spending on other products because they think the first product didn’t work, extreme dieting which can lead to anorexia and bulimia, and even a decline in social interactions.
Other types of media, like TV shows and movies can also influence adolescents greatly. One worrying sign is the fact that most TV and movie stars are thin, with no gram of fat visible on them. For example yesterday, I was watching ‘Australia’s number 1 drama’, Revenge. You may ask, what’s so special about that? Well, not that much apart from the fact all the characters, and I mean every single one of them were all thin. The consequences of adolescents watching this can vary from person to person, but I think the main question is in everyone’s minds, ‘do I have to look like that to be accepted by society?
Then you see advertisement promoting underwear and bras with another bunch of super-skinny models, and that answers your question; ‘yes’. But is there anything stopping these advertisements and media messages which are eating away into girls’ self-esteem and confidence about their bodies? Well, there are no laws that say you have to have at least one curvy woman or man in an advertisement, so it’s really down to the moral obligations of the media.
They morally shouldn’t advertise or cast movies and TV shows only with thin people, and they shouldn’t discriminate against people just because of their looks or weight. No matter what, don’t ever feel put down by advertisements, TV shows, movies, and magazines because they’ve all be altered in one way or another. Pictures can be airbrushed and actors, actresses and models go through strenuous diets and exercise to become unnaturally skinny. And always remember to be healthy and happy, cause in the end, that’s what’s really most important in life.