For decades, women of all ages have had this idealistic body image launched at them by the media, anything less than the ideal is considered far from perfect. The media portrays the ideal female to be a “Hollyoaks babe”- thin and flawless with big boobs; qualities that most women can only dream of to be viewed as attractive and beautiful.
Women are taught from a young age of the “perfect look”, as almost every young girl in the UK would have been given a Barbie doll: a glamour icon in the eyes of a 4 year old girl! This stick thin, blonde bimbo in tight girly dresses teaches us that these are the qualities to have in order to find a strong, attractive man like Ken. With this early life lesson, can we really blame teenage girls for dying their hair and craving boob jobs?
The impact of the media is shocking; in 2011, 15 million people worldwide had plastic surgery and 10,000 of this figure are thanks to women having breast augmentation! People are taking drastic action to physically change their body just for a confidence boost and supposedly to become more attractive. Tummy tucks, chemical peel, face lifts… the list of possible surgical procedures is endless as a result of the flawless, perfectly tanned, airbrushed girls on the front of most magazines. The public have become so obsessed with looks that they forget potential dangers such as internalbleeding and nerve damage and then there’s also the possible scarring from having such surgery.
Not only are celebrities airbrushed but they are constantly scrutinised in the public eye, for their appearance. Magazines are full with “who wears it better”- comparing celebrities on how they wear clothing and if they look “hot or not”, celebrities are snapped in public with no makeup and everyday clothing so the media portray this as having a break down or stressed. For women reading these magazines, especially teenage girls, they have pressure on them to dress nicely and wear make-up otherwise they are deemed “ugly” or having something wrong with them.
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just women that face this type of scrutiny, it is men as well. With the torsos of Justin Timberlake, Hugh Jackman and many other well-built celebrities constantly splashed across magazines, it is no wonder that an estimated 11% of men suffer from an eating disorder. This “woman’s disease” is no longer gendered, men are feeling just as pressured to obtain “perfection” and to have a masculine body, therefore it isn’t surprising that men don’t seek treatment for their disorder as it shows a sign of weakness to have a “woman’s disease”. However, an eating disorder doesn’t show weakness, it shows the pressure of the media on the modern day world and its potentially devastating effects.
To help us achieve and obtain perfection, adverts of protein shakes and other “revolutionary” products that will change our bodies for ever, are not only placed in magazines but companies have the nerve to send out emails telling us to “start the change now” and buy their heavily discounted products to “beat the bulge”. Many people who fall for their trickery, will soon realise these products do nothing but make you crave food, the only way to get a bikini body is to have a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
The media portray the “bikini body” as size zero with an hourglass figure, suggesting this is the look men crave. How can the media generalise in this way? Why are women shaping their bodies to please men in the first place? And why are men building their bodies to please women? The “perfect” body should be how comfortable each individual feels in their own body and not about these “role models” that are given to us from such a young age which causes us to take drastic measures to change to fit in and deemed attractive. If every single person had this perfect body, wouldn’t that make us clones, to some extent?
The picture below was taken a couple of months ago, I’ve had this top for year yet I’m trapped with fear, too scared to wear it because my belly has some fat on it, it’s not the washboard stomach that models starve themselves for. This is something, I am therefore incredibly proud of, I wore this outfit for the whole and felt great, I wasn’t worried about being judged. It’s important to remember that people come in all shapes and sizes and a body shape shouldn’t make people feel this way that certain clothes are only meant for one shape, the shape that the media feed us on a daily basis.