The negative effect of today’s body image
Negative body image is more than simply not liking what one sees in the mirror. It can have detrimental effects on a person’s happiness and way of life.
When body image is negative, it often involves a fixation on a perceived flaw. Masking this flaw becomes an obsession. It is impossible to function normally while having extreme concern about part of one’s physical appearance.
Women are made to believe they are worth more if they have a perfect appearance. The fashion and beauty industries’ multi-million-dollar success is clear evidence of this. Women are led to think their body image will be boosted if they can look like the fashion models they see every day.
According nytimes.com, a person living in a city is exposed to over 5,000 advertisements daily. Whether it is from television, magazines, billboards, radio or even at home, one cannot escape the world of advertising. Ugly, overweight people do not advertise products. Agencies know people want to see “beauty” and that supposed beauty has a weight requirement. Thus the thin ideal is drilled into our heads.
Over the course of ten years, the average person sees over 7 million different media images. And these images often degrade the quality of life for the individual by causing an increased negative body image. With this repeated exposure women internalize and then accept the “thin ideal.”
According to USAtoday.com, girls are becoming women earlier and earlier, and this results in weight gain. Many girls try to stop this, with no concern to the health risks they are introducing to their bodies. They do not know that it is very uncommon (and often unnatural) to retain a girl-like body into adulthood.
The distortion of beauty is not discriminating. Children are not safe from society’s unachievable standards; the thin standard can even be traced to children’s programming.
Media and fashion are more prominent than ever before, along with their reach on influencing people of all age groups. Except for a few select companies, such as Dove’s release of the “Real Beauty” campaign, most advertisements aim to make the consumer feel unsure. They target a particular feature of a person’s appearance and show how it can be improved. The media makes consumers feel insecure so they will purchase their product, whether it is a piece of clothing, beauty item or something else, in order to feel better about themselves.
Women would rather be unhealthy than unattractive. They would rather be plastered with makeup than embrace their flaws. Women see sleek models everywhere—in magazines, television and on the catwalk. They feel the need to be like them and often resort to drastic measures to do so.
Eating disorders are more common than ever before. According to news-medical.net, “65 percent of American women between the ages of 25 and 45 report having disordered eating behaviors.” Also, “67 percent of women (excluding those with actual eating disorders) are trying to lose weight” and “53 percent of dieters are already at a healthy weight and are still trying to lose weight.”
Females have always had pressure to look a certain way, but now more than ever it is one of the most prominent demand of them. The fashion industry is here to stay, but consumers can become aware of this thin ideal and react against it.