The Damaging Effects of Female Beauty in Society
by kayla_bourbon on October 3, 2016 - 5:07pm
http://: time.com/3964758/body-shaming-black-female-athletes/Tennis player Serena Williams is one of the top ranked female tennis players in the world with a record of twenty one straight wins as of 2015. Yet, she earned less in prize money and endorsements compared to her competitors that lost to her. Before you ask, no this has nothing to do with race. It concerns a completely different problem that we as a society sadly face; body shaming. Therefore, companies that pay endorsers, like athletes/celebrities, don't care how good of an athlete they are. They only care if they look good in their ads. In other words, media wants to showcase the western cultural ideal of beauty and perfection. This happened again with ballerina, Misty Copeland when she was rejected from the American Ballet Theater. She was told that she lacked the right feet, Achilles tendons, turnout, torso length, and bust. What's most shocking is that she was body shamed at thirteen !
What is considered the "right look", when it comes to how one presents themselves? There is no correct answerer because as society evolves, so does its answers. How we determine perfection and what is deemed beautiful is all based off what society sees as fit. Even Misty Copeland was told by the public that she doesn’t have the body to be a dancer and that her legs are too muscular and shouldn’t be wearing a tutu. What I want to know is who has the audacity to tell someone they can’t do what they love because they have “the wrong body type”. It seems like we as a society have established this definition of beauty so narrow that it's impossible for anyone to live up to its unrealistic expectations. I feel like advertisements especially are causing women in particular to become desperate, self-conscious and basically dissatisfied with their overall presence. Like I mentioned before, advertisements are the major source of body shaming due to ads depicting the thin ideal. Marketing is a crucial benefactor in the consumer industry. Professionals in this field try to trick the mind of the individual into making them believe that what they are seeing is in a positive attribute and can improve their everyday life. This theory is often referred to as MBA or in other words, making bad assumptions. This evidence can support the reason why a majority of the models or actors in advertisements are most likely between the sizes of 0 to 6. An example of this is often seen in designer billboard campaigns, magazine covers and Victoria Secret ads. The industry is advocating the message that beauty only comes in one shape or size; thin. Thus, one's mind starts to think in the form of rigidity or thinking in only one way, in which that way must be the only right way. Our most primitive unit of our thoughts is an image and that image is perfection. In my opinion, I find this fake beauty because is it really natural ? Last time I checked, photo-enhancing, lighting, makeup, and other morphing techniques weren’t considered natural.
Another problem in advertisements is the portrayal of women's femininity. Where men are considered strong, tough, and bold, women are portrayed as weak fragile, delicate, sensitive, vulnerable, etc. I think the reason why Serena was body shamed and referred to as one of the “Williams brothers”is because she is such a strong, powerful, and athletic women who defies the common characteristics society has “picked out” for females. Actresses like Kerry Washington and Lupita Nyong'o aren’t picked on because they fit into society’s petty image of beauty and are showcased in high fashion magazine spreads around the world.
Fascinated by this topic, I wanted to further my knowledge on the subject by looking into media advertisements on a more specific level and how they affect the individual in a more personal way. Research I found suggests that exposure to mass media depicting the thin-ideal body may be linked to body image disturbance in women. Correlation studies I viewed show links between media exposure to women's body dissatisfaction, internalization of the thin ideal, and eating behaviors. Society has provided us with unrealistic expectations of woman and how they must look to be considered "attractive". A woman's response to particular media images concerning body type can have negative effects. When women compare themselves with the thin and beautiful images in the media, this almost invariably represents an upward social comparison in which they find them self lacking. It’s almost like advertising profits depend on the desperation of women and their excessive need to be considered attractive in the eyes of society. All in all, desperation makes money. A prime example of this is the amount of money women spend to fulfill these needs. I find it baffling that the average women spends about $15,000 on makeup over her lifespan instead of investing in more practical things, like a retirement fund.
In my opinion, the key word associated with what society portrays to women is nothing more than brainwashing. An example of this is Maria Sharapova, a 6 foot 2 and 130 pounds russian tennis player that admits she wishes she could be even thinner: “I always want to be skinnier with less cellulite; I think that’s every girl’s wish.” How sad is the fact that this is what most girls desire? All in all, I find it pitaville that we live in a world where we need insecurity to sell products and eating disorders to cope with our feelings of self lacking. Hopefully, women in this country can see past the fake advertisements and body shaming tactics and have the strength to push past all that negativity and overcome the idealisms that society has laid out for us.
Jabbar, K. A. (2016, July 20). : Body Shaming Black Female Athletes Is Not Just About Race. Retrieved September 26, 2016, time.com/3964758/body-shaming-black-female-athletes