Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Shape of Women.

I had never really considered how the media portrays women. I know that magazines are full of skinny, large-breasted, tan women... I know that it's always been an 'issue,' and people have been talking about it for...forever. I know that the images presented in the media are, well, unrealistic.

Yet usually the bearer and driver behind the ideas is an over-the-top...feminist.

It's a little hard to believe a woman who walks around saying that we can beat these stereotypes and that this is a terrible, crying shame and the media is a hateful being.

But as someone who wants to be a part of the media, and someone who has seen different aspects of this 'situation,' I've got my own perspective.

I have a little sister who is thirteen and in the eighth grade. She's athletic, and is passionate about her sports. But at the end of the day, she's like any other thirteen-year-old. She's reading Seventeen magazine. She's getting on the Internet. She talks to her friends. She sees what is expected of her as she grows up.

Images of women: the shape of women. Ads that portray older, beautiful women that are skinny, voluptuous and in our society...perfect. This is what she is growing up with; this is what she is surrounded by.

As for myself, I have the similar experiences. As a budding communications major, I understand what works in the media, and everyone knows the basics of "sex sells."

But as a teen, I see how these things affect us.

My mass communications class discussed this issue after watching a video that featured one of the "over-the-top" feminists. I wasn't surprised when their reactions were less than...sympathetic. They seemed to brush off the idea that the way women are portrayed and represented in this country is silly and harmful.

But as a girl who started throwing away her lunch in the fourth grade... I know that they're dead wrong.

But what if the media isn't completely to blame, but rather the chain of events that occurs along the line?

I personally don't see myself being affected by the images of women in the media. Skinny girls in magazines has never affected me. But what if it's affecting the male population? What if it's setting their sights too high?

I remember boys calling me fat, and I remember not being "pretty" enough, simply dubbed as "cute." What if guys are expecting to find someone that fits these magazine standards, and they're taking it out on us "real women?"

I know that there's no "right" way to go about this situation. We can't be protecting our sisters and daughters from something that would hit them as soon as they leave the house anyway. We can only educate ourselves about what's realistic, what's not, and what's best for us.

As for me, I'm about to finish my big bowl of ice cream.

photo via (we heart it)


Erica said...

Great entry! An I'll take a bowl of that ice cream too! You are beautiful, don't ever think otherwise!

Sara said...

The issue isn't that the media necessarily sets these standards, but more so that they perpetuate it. With that said, the media inundates young people now more so than ever before and when you are surrounded by the false reality 24/7, it does become difficult to separate fact vs. fiction.

As always, great blog Jessi! :)

Jamie said...

Wow, I really liked this!
I'm right there with you on eating the big bowl of ice cream! :]

RAY J said...

You make a good point, as we as girls can be unaffected by these images in the media and just let it roll off our backs, but when it comes to dealing with society's vision... like you said, a girl can ignore the images and not let her affect however the guys see these same images and are told the "ideal woman" looks a certain way that that really is where the problem comes in when they start telling the girls they're not hot enough or too fat or too whatever.

This is part of the reason why my nearly 21 year old brother in law hasn't had a girlfriend in years. While he wants a girl with a good morals/values and a great personality, he also wants one that's smoking hot - as he put it "if we get married, I'll be the one waking up next to her having to look at her." Sadly, I've seen him dismiss some really nice girls who, aside from looks, would be perfect for him, all because they aren't "hot enough" looking for him. He's also tried dating some "smoking hot" ones, only to find out later they were into some things that he would rather not be involved in such as drugs, sleeping around, etc.

We keep telling him he's going to end up alone if he can't get passed this whole shallowness with looks.

Puput Nopitasari said...

Ice cream, chocolate, yummy cake is too delicious to be missed.
We're fat. So what?

Kara said...

I find it especially ridiculous that magazines aimed at women represent women in this way when women don't like it! I get playboy being the way it is and honestly I don't mind that. But why does Elle continue to have size 2 models when so many of their readers went crazy for a size 12 model?

John Watson said...

I agree. The media has been conditioning what people think is 'in' or 'sexy' for years. I saw an a very ancient 'Old Spice' add, and the entire gist of it was; old spice makes you manly, aka hairy chest; which was 'in' then. Nowadays, on the jockey and deo spray adds, the guys are perfectly waxed and hairless.

The same thing goes with women. Ok, I am against obesity. I believe that, just for basic health reasons; you shouldn't have too much weight. But I can't stand the sight of these ridiculously skinny girls who have no figure and who look like they will fall over if someone sneezed in front of them.

Ray J, about your brother in law...I really think its sad that 'hot' girls more or less have no personality and get through life because everyone worships them. But you have to compromise I guess; someone with either inner or outer beauty, although there are those with both, just a few....tell me what yu think....


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