One of the greatest components to the issue of body image in our society is the media. The media has become very popular in the United States. It has the power to change views, implement ideas, raise issues, and promote ideologies. The media comes in the form of television, magazines, internet, newspapers, books and films. Everyone in the United States encounters at least one of these mediums every day. The media surrounds us therefore there is no way to avoid it, especially if celebrities are in the media then it is harder to avoid due to their fame and popularity. Many young women look up at these celebrities as role models and follow their many examples. One of them is their physical attributes. In order to learn and discover every secret they have, young women turn to the media. Since the media is overly obsessed with celebrities, specifically the females, they want to cover everything about them. This includes their relationship status, their upcoming jobs, any awards received, gossip, and other useless information. Another aspect the media predominantly covers is the physical beauty of these celebrity women which includes their fashion, make-up, hair, and diet. “How Being Unpopular Helped Her get Famous” or “534 Ways to Look & Feel Fantastic For Fall” are ways to encourage women to feel like they can one day be beautiful and famous just like celebrities if they follow in their footsteps. The media brings these models and celebrities down to the “normal” women’s level and the majority do fall for the false advertisements due to the increase in sales. Even though these celebrities and models are real human beings, a good number of magazines and advertisements employ photo shopping tactics in order to make them the ultimate beauty. Other times the women on the advertisements are not who they seem to be, at some points as much as five different body parts are used to make one. For example as discussed in the video “Slim Hopes” featuring Jean Kilbourne, Julia Roberts body is not hers in the movie cover. The media has a great power in how females are shown to the public. It has the power to define what beautiful is and to correct flaws in the women portrayed. Therefore many times the beauty we see as a society is unreal. This can be devastating in many ways because the women who are caught by this media bug attempt to fit the media’s definition of beautiful when in reality it does not represent the entire population of women.
Body image has been an issue throughout centuries many cultures have had their own way of perceiving what the perfect image is. For example the Chinese used foot-binding to have petite feet because they are preferred in their culture and in Victorian times they preferred bigger woman because they were better for child bearing. Women have had to strive for the perfect body for centuries in order to attract males and to fit their society’s expectations. The ideal perfect body has changed throughout history and throughout cultures. Even though the perfect body in every culture has been enforced and promoted the health effects were never considered or talked about. The issue of body image is significant because it has affected many women and girls both physically and mentally. Depression, anorexia, bulimia, self- esteem and other issues surround the problem of body image in our culture. These issues are never considered especially when the perfect body is promoted in the media and society. For example in modeling the women are expected to fit a certain size and if they do not than they do not receive the modeling job. The modeling agencies expect them to fit their criteria but they do not realize the effects on the models. I decided to examine this issue because it surrounds us and affects us everywhere. As a girl in society we are expected to meet a certain physical look to be beautiful. This pressure can come from family, friends, men, fashion, our culture, and most importantly the media. This issue effects me even more because I am a Latina society stereotypes us as being curvy, sexual, and seductive. By examining this issue we can be more informed about the implications and effects the “perfect body” has on women and culture and do something about it.