How Advertising Portrays Women

Essay by nazzy24College, UndergraduateA+, April 2009

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The Iron MaidenEvery day before I leave out of the house I look into the mirror. I look at myself from head to toe, and though I feel I look "alright" I find that I am never one-hundred percent satisfied. In "The Iron Maiden: How Advertising Portrays Women" by Michael Jacobson and Anne Mazur, they talk about how we are surrounded by advertisements that tell us how we "should" look. These advertisements are unavoidable, and they combine beauty and sex to tell us what it means to be perfect. This essay made me have a revelation, I am insecure because society made me that way and has brainwashed me to see all of my flaws. It is unfortunate that advertisements make us question our self worth.

These advertisements surround us; on the bus, driving down the highway, and even on the internet. A blind person can't even escape these advertisements, because they are in ever commercial on the radio.

Everyone has flaws, and that should be okay, but society teaches us it's not and we should look how they think we should even though it is impossible. "The ideal cannot be achieved; it is inhuman in its flawlessness" (Jacobson 212). It's sad because the idea of the Iron Maiden is unattainable. We can do all of these things to change our appearance, but you can never entirely become the iron maiden. All the money in the world and you'll never become the image the continues to change to what is current and what's "in".

The Iron maiden is, "an illusion created by makeup artists, photographers, and photo re-touchers" (212). I asked myself, why are we given this image to idolize if the image itself isn't even real? Then I thought about it and came to this realization: as long as we have the image of the Iron Maiden I our minds, we will continue to see how imperfect we are. As human beings we will naturally strive for perfection; buying products, makeup, and having surgeries to reach that unattainable goal. As long as we conform, the product market will boom. I feel sad by this, lied to. I know that at one point in my life I felt beautiful and though I can't remember when, I was surrounded by images that pointed out all my flaws and made me think less of myself. Pictures in adds that often take an arm from one model, lips from another, and legs from the third to make this perfect person. That model isn't even a real person, but several people, but yet we strive to look just like her.

Conforming into the Iron Maiden is expensive and Dangerous. In a year we spend "$33 billion on weight loss; $7 billion on cosmetics; $300 million on cosmetic surgery" (212). I must admit, I am one who spends money to be perfect. I look in the mirror and I judge myself next to those people in magazines subconsciously. I've been working out my legs since I was in elementary school and a lot of people say they're amazing. The other day I was watching a commercial where the woman had a scar on her knee and after a short time of applying the ointment faded away. Though the scar didn't bother me before, now as the commercial said it "I need to rid of that ugly scar." I went out and bought the ointment. I am a victim of spending money on weight loss. I pay $40 a month to go to 24 hour fitness, and every day I go I buy a $2 vitamin water to go with it.

Achieving this Iron Maiden goal is also dangerous. If you read the warning labels on diet pills you would know that they can cause hearts problems, diarrhea, or sleepless nights. Not only is this a problem with women, but with the need to get buff, guys take steroids. It causes them to be unable to control their mood swing and they often feel weak and develop dependence for these steroids. Cosmetic surgery is becoming a normal thing. This is extremely dangerous; there are often complications that cause permanent damage and even death. There is one thing that bothers me even more than the others-eating disorders. Anorexia and bulimia affects many of my schoolmates, and it saddens me. In the tenth grade I tried diet after diet. One diet had me only eating fruits and I became very sick and could not stop vomiting. Though I would never consider starving myself or throwing up after my meals, my doctor said I was on the road to anorexia. That's when I stopped my diets and started working out.

We are all a victim to advertisement and the Iron Maiden. I hate that society shows us all of our flaws. I hate that I'm poisoned, because I won't go swimming because I'm too fat. I hope that one day people, including myself, will become comfortable in their own skin and not feel the need to conform. It's a shame how advertisements effect us. "The Iron Maiden: How Advertising Portrays Women," does a great job on shining a light on this issue.

Reading Culture: Contexts for Critical Reading and Writingby George, Diana/ Trimbur, JohnPublisher Addison-WesleyCopyright Unknown, Edition 6thpage 212