Unrealistic Expectations

by kdot696 on February 14, 2016 - 10:40pm

            Vitaco, a well-known Australian corporation that deals primarily with health and wellness products, was publicly scorned for their low-carb chocolate bar advertisement. The ad portrayed a headless woman with emaciated arms, a perfectly airbrushed torso, and cleavage. “Keep Australia Beautiful… The Body Beautiful Bar”. This slogan, to which the company proudly supports, articulates the view that every woman should replicate the thin body-type. For young girls around the world who have not even fully undergone puberty, body image is a very serious issue. Therefore, by isolating anyone who does not fit these constraints, we are alienating perfectly regular human beings. Not everyone will emulate these body-types, and it has to become more commonplace to just accept individuals regardless of their aesthetics. 


Today’s marketing campaigns do not differ from the past in terms of objectification of women; however, the advertisements of today have been more geared towards skimpy and provocative clothing. This is because, ultimately, sex sells like hotcakes. Very frequently in advertisements, women are portrayed in clothing showing their surgically implanted breasts or silicon-injected behinds. (Nicki Minaj… We’re talking about you). These multi-billion dollar industries understand the impact they have on young girls, but very rarely act to switch their stance. According to an article posted on “womeninads.com”, (Carpenter, C., & Edison, A) a study on young girls found that 69% of magazine models influence their idea of the perfect body shape. These shocking statistics prompted Dove to launch the “Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign”. Unsurprisingly, the campaign spread like wildfire, garnering attention from different sectors of the media, while making headlines all across the world. In these commercials, groups of young women are properly educated on what true beauty actually is. The purpose was to show these young women that not even the models in the magazines could resemble their own picture with 100% accuracy, let alone 80%. With all of the breakthroughs and obvious benefits of technology, there are definitely some consequences. Photoshop and filtration techniques allow corporations to shape and chisel their models in any way they deem necessary. Therefore, these young and trusting girls believe that what they see in pictures can be replicated if they underwent surgery. The fact of the matter is, these pictures are excessively altered and edited to the point where the body proportions are highly unrealistic. This goes to show that the image of beauty in advertising will always hold young women to unattainable standards. 


The most horrifying stories come from women who are so influenced by the media and even family members. This can be seen perfectly in chapter 3 of Constructed Bodies: Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising. Lori explains that the trigger to start vomiting her meals came when her dad mentioned she looked fat. Similar to other cases, Lori began a gruelling and laborious battle with anorexia nervosa. Many do not understand the severity of this condition and there is such a stigma placed on this disorder. People do not believe it’s real. In actuality, anorexia plagues dozens of millions of girls worldwide. In addition, one does not become forever cured of anorexia; it is a constant struggle to get better. It is a matter of having ups and downs, but just staying with it. Unfortunately, the adolescent years of a woman’s life are turbulent. Prepubescent girls are being ridiculed by their classmates due to appearance and weight. These situations should not be taken frivolously, as seen in Miss Representation, females as young as 12 years old are slashing their wrists because they are filled with self-disgust. All of these problems are deeply rooted within how they assess their beauty, which is completely unfair because they are up against computers.


These readings and the screening of Miss Representation have been so eye opening and shocking. It has been overwhelmingly interesting to examine the advertisements that are shown to us because the majority of people have never thought critically about what it means. Countless advertisements are screened daily, but only the controversial ones are really engrained in our minds, and that’s exactly what these companies are going for, so for now, it doesn’t seem to be changing. The commission that regulates these advertisements should become more stringent. In essence, these commercials are shaping our generations perceptions about life.


Works Cited


Carpenter, C., & Edison, A. (2005). Taking It All Off Again: The Portrayal of Women in Advertising Over The Past Forty Years. Conference Papers -- International Communication Association, 1-25. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database.3.Statistics on women and media. (2005). Retrieved from http://www.mediareporttowomen.com/statistics.htm4. Rowland, H. (n.d.). Obsessed with thin: has the media gone too far?. Hilary Fashion, Retrieved from http://www.hilary.com/fashion/bikini.html5.Shocking statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/wellness/NewSite/BdyImgShockingStats.htm



I wanted to start off by saying that these issues are so important since young girls are so impressionable and it's actually quite easy to develop an eating disorder because of these advertisements. I would know, I struggled with anorexia for two years.
Your article is very well written and articulated, good job!
Since this issue originates from Australia, the media is very much infatuated with Western/European beauty standards. It's very sad that young girls feel the need to conform to European/American beauty standards, which is where the stick thin "ideal" figure comes from. Furthermore, there are many other cultures in the world where skinny women are not considered to be the most beautiful, as this article points out: http://www.tolerance.org/article/size-bias-social-construction

Depending where you are in the world, people will find different things attractive and unattractive. But it's all a social construct and it really doesn't matter in the end, all the matters is that young girls don't get caught up in nonsense like this because it's all superficial anyways.