What is it to be beautiful? Can it truly be defined? Who is to decide what is considered beautiful and what is not? These are the questions that I ask myself when I think of the word beautiful. There are so many different kinds of beauty but not all of them can even be seen because Media shapes the world we live in. No one can truthfully say that when they are shopping in their local grocery store and get to the counter to pay that they do not look at the magazine stand and for a second regret buying that dessert for after dinner because they just caught a glimpse of Reese Witherspoon on the cover Glamour magazine. At one time or another every women has had those thoughts run through her head. Everyone struggles with their body image. How could they not? Every second of everyday we are subjected to the judging eye or our peers, colleagues, and sometimes even our families. The media creates these ideals and these ideals are what women aspire to become so that they feel as though they are pretty and accomplished. However these ideals are based on this ideal of perfection. As most of you probably are well aware there is no such thing. Thus these women who try and try to become this ideal are set up to fail for they will never be able to be the ‘perfect’ kind of beautiful.

    To expand further on ideals it should be noted that they are not realistic and an example of one would be the image from the article ‘Hunger as an Ideology’ by Susan Bordo. This image shows a woman having a single bite from her Haagen-Dazs ice cream bar. It is really stressed in this image how the woman needs to watch her figure as noted by the mirror that is also seen in the picture. With this type of image constantly being seen how one could not think of eating as being something they must hide from others. Just to put things in perspective these models that are being used to show women the idea of beauty are actually now weighing twenty three percent less than the average female as opposed to the eight percent less that it was before according to Derenne and Beresin (2006). Again the unrealistic image of Barbie is something that must be criticized because of its false representation of what an average woman should look like. It is stated that “it is highly unlikely for a rail-thin woman to have natural DD-cup size breasts, toy manufacturers set this expectation by developing and marketing the Barbie doll, whose measurements are physiologically impossible” (Derenne and Beresin 2006). Even with people beginning to realize these extremely unrealistic expectations there is still women out there who are doing whatever it takes to change their natural body image.

    Throughout this blog there are many different images of females who are shown in their most vulnerable state. These images are here to show how eating disorders have evolved into a new wave of gaining that ‘perfect’ beauty. It is no surprise that with trying to compete with the newest pin-thin fashion model that a woman would begin to develop insecurities. This is happening especially when these celebrities are developing these illnesses like bulimia and anorexia themselves. They too feel the pressure to stay thin and be fit. It is all a part of their job and their choice to be subjected to the media’s harsh eye. However the harsh reality is that people are becoming ill no one should look at themselves at the weight of sixty-six pounds like French model Isabelle Caro and think that they are healthy and perfectly thin. Further on this blog there is a video of Isabelle Caro showing her in an interview about her modeling campaign to help women become aware of the risk of starving yourself. It is unfortunate that it has come down to that for some people. That is clearly highlighted throughout the images that can be seen below. These images interestingly enough are also part of the problem. They are what Jane Killborne classifies as the three thousand ads per day that women are bombarded with. Some women could look at these images and think that that is what they need to be. They could compare themselves to those women and think that they are not even close to the weight they want to be. So much pressure is put on that. Advertisements are telling you how to keep a man and then associating it with being beautiful and thin. Women are supposed to be able to do it all and stay thin and beautiful all at the same time, never having a hair out of place.

    It is really just insane that these images become ones that people look to for something they themselves aspire to be. Looking at just these images specifically it is troublesome that these photos can easily be found by young influential teens. What other role models can they look to when their own mothers are constantly trying to find that quick fix to lose weight fast. There is no avoiding the harsh reality that dieting has become a part of people’s everyday lives. A statistic from Healthy Living and Healthy Weight shows that many people have a skewed image of themselves, “Thirty-seven percent of girls in grade nine and 40% in grade ten perceived themselves as too fat. Even among students of normal-weight (based on BMI), 19% believed that they were too fat, and 12% of students reported attempting to lose weight” (2008). People are unable to see their true beauty and that really is the unfortunate thing here. The media has tainted time and time again the pureness of a human being. Instead images are constantly photo shopped and so much is added to them that the images cannot even be classified as being ‘real’. Everything is sexualized and glamorized that from the day you are born you do not even have much of a chance not getting absorbed into the messages from the media. Television, Music, Videos, Movies, Internet, Magazines, there is no escaping it. Media shapes our world.

 

References

Beresin, Eugene., and Derenne, Jennifer. (2006). Body Image, Media, and Eating Disorders.

    Academic Psychiatry. 30(257-261).

Bordo, Susan. “Hunger as Ideology”.Women Studies/ Cultural Studies 2210: Gender and

    Popular Culture. Trent University Department of Women Studies. Toronto: Canadian

    Scholars Press, 2012. 73-92.

Boyce, W.F., King, M.A. and Roche, J. (2008). Healthy Living and Healthy Weight. In Healthy

    Settings for Young People in Canada. Retrieved from

    http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/dca-dea/yjc/pdf/youth-jeunes-eng.pdf.

Versus. (2012). PLUS Model Magazine. Beauty and Body Image. Retrieved from

    http://skinnyvscurvy.com/beauty-body-image/plus-model-magazine-most-runway-models- 

    meet-bmi-physical-criteria-anorexia.html.

 


Interview with Isabelle Caro