Body Image and American Society

Essay by Ryanj300 October 2008

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From Twiggy in the 1960s to Ally McBeal's Calista Flockhart in the 1990s--and then of course Kate Moss--the waif look has dominated media discussion in terms of weight. Is it healthy to be so skinny? Calista has been categorized as possibly anorexic, a charge that she vehemently denies, and while men contend that these women are just too skinny, the truth is that even women do not want to be quite that thin. Still, these women project a childlike body image that is not at all what the female form is usually like and while many models are not that thin, they come very close. Some writers have prompted women to look at the real women around them. It has been said that the average woman wears a size 14. Yet, most models probably wear around a size 0.

Model Carre Otis used to be a size 4 but decided to go off her 17 year diet and is currently a size 12 model--which is considered plus size--and is making just as much money as previously (Tauber and Hannah 133).

She explains that the average woman has curves and while she's not gigantic, she's not skinny either (133). The fact that most women are larger than what society tells her should sound an alarm. There is nothing more obvious than the fact that the American culture is telling women that they should be very, very thin. While perhaps some women can shrug off such images--like Camryn Manheim who wrote a book about how she accepted her weight --the truth is that even those who do lash out at the media, face the critical public eye.

People who claim to accept themselves the way they are, and make a statement about it, are often criticized not only by media, but...