Cover Girls         When I was in first grade I wrote,

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Cover Girls When I was in first grade I wrote, in a letter to myself that "In the year 2000 I will be 17 years old. I will have long blonde hair, and a stamp will cost 25 cents " Prior to that letter I had been told by a peer that blond hair equals beauty. From that day forth I would sit on the sunny side of the car. This was a vein attempt to lighten my dark locks. At age six I realized I was born with a disadvantage because I had brown hair. That was only the tip of the ice burg, only a few years later I would decide that I was in adequate not only because of my hair but my chest wasn't big enough my hips were too small my skin was too pail. This began a decent into womanhood, a world of inadequacies.

"If I have only one life, let me live it as a blonde", Betty Friedan quotes one woman saying in her literary work, "the Feminine Mystique " At the end of the fifties three out of ten woman dyed their hair blonde and since 1939 dress sizes had decreased three to four sizes.1 "Woman are out to fit the clothes instead of vice-versa" So get out some bleach and begin you Hollywood diet because it's a long hard road to perfection.

Very rarely do woman start out looking like the images seen in the media. Today the average american woman is 5'4" tall and weighs 140 pounds The average American model is 5'11" tall and weighs 117 pounds. 2 Many woman see images in the media to which they aspire. Woman then base there appearances on what they are told is beauty. 5 out of the 9 woman in "People Magazines" most beautiful people of 2002 are blond. From Marylyn Monroe, to an enormous billboard of Brittany Spears on sunset one is constantly bombarded with an image that for most is unattainable.

It is unfortunately not just the mature woman that is falling for these conformities. Children of younger and younger ages are trying to meet expectations, even when their bodies aren't physically mature enough to. Prepubescent girls may attempt to imitate older siblings by stuffing bras and wearing more risky clothing but this is only the beginning of an obsession millions of american woman suffer from. From first to third grades, a study has shown that about half of these children want to be thinner. Half of our nine and ten-year-old girls say that being on a diet makes them feel better about themselves.2 Children are following in the footsteps of there elders. Seeing a society obsessed with physical appearance they are falling into the trap early. Girls want to grow up to look like Brittany Spears, but they are choosing icons instead of roll models. A pop star is famous for there entertainment value and rarely send a message of there own. When one thinks of a star like Madonna they are forces to view her in a way that alleviates any social conscious. "Like a Virgin" pops into my head at the first thought, that and her various extreme attire. But their are not many who attribute her interests in woman's arts of funding to multiple organizations. Is It just woman who become icons or do men have that same capacity.

There are many attractive men in the modeling world as well as in the entertainment industry, however they are often classified more by their work. for instance it is difficult to name a male model and easy to name and actor or musician. Many of these fields overlap however is is much simpler to list of female models: Naomi Camble, Claudia Schiffer, rebecca Romaan-stamos etc. Is there really a difference between the image portrayed in the media of a woman and that of a man? There are many adds that portray woman in sexually explicit or provocative positions however the same is true with men. What makes the male model different from the female is not that they are portrayed differently but instead perceived differently. According to a study done by Sriram Kalyanaraman (PhD Student), and Michael Redding & Jason Steele (BA Students), adds with female models are more objectified. These two students questioned 45 men and women on their feeling towards ten adds of female models and 10 of males.

* * The study focuses on the idea that men perceive woman as sex object and that woman are less likely to see men as sex objects, which was supported by the study. 3 In television commercials 28% of female models had comments made about their looks; only 7% of male models did (Children NOW and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 1997) 4 There is an expected view of a woman in today's society that doesn't include a profession. Woman in the media can easily become iconic, meaning their roles are less substantial and focus more on the visual. One is more likely to see a man working on television than a woman. 4 These roles are more two dimensional. Television plays heavily into this, with stay at home mothers on shows like, Everybody Loves Raymond, Woman tend to have roles that focus more on there appearance.

This aspiration for beauty comes at a cost. Even tv personalities suffer with these issues, like Patricia Richardson of Home Improvement, Roseanne, and Oprah who have all struggled with weight . Between five and ten million women and girls in the United States struggle with eating disorders and borderline conditions.3 These woman are under the impression that they need to be a certain way. Men see Calvin Klien adds and woman swooning over Brad Pitt however there is a different standard. These men are less likely to feel the need to idolizes these men and imitate appearances.

Obviously there are trends in attire that correlate to the media for both men and woman., but woman tend to take it to the next step. Compared to the five to ten million woman suffering from eating disorders only one million boys and men suffer. Boys spike their hair and wear their pants down low to be like their favorite rock star but are less likely to attempt to change there physical appearance to become the ideal man.

Woman for years have been wearing corrects, bleaching hair, shaving, going through plastic surgery, bingeing and purging and receiving breast implants to fill an unrealistic form. Researchers have said that woman often view themselves as sex objects in their quest to attain ideal female beauty.4 What makes a woman so much more insecure than a man? A mans identity seems to be more defined than that of a woman. It is typically thought that a girl identifies with the mother whereas a boy identifies with the man. 5 Because the mother has more of a physical connection with the child, when a boy turns to the father for an image he more likely to be detached allowing for an easier sense of identity. A woman on the other hand tends to attribute to the mother and in doing so becomes more consumed with relationships.

Both genders see the mother figure as being caring and attached however it is easier for a male to stray as he does not see his image in the woman. It is not impossible for a woman to disassociate herself for this image but since many woman feel a need to be relational they will sacrifice what they feel is essential.

A infant sees a man first as the object of her mothers affection. This begins a desire for that relationship. Frued's oedipus complex implies that while a man is attempting to find his mother a woman is looking for her father figure. "the law then operates within the infant through the superego, and freedom of erotic choice outside incest develops within the ego." 6 This leaves the woman trying to be what a man wants her to be.

In our American society what a man wants her to be is portrayed by the media and images of submissive women and slender bodies. In other cultures the ideal woman varies. In Africa a tribe might find the woman with the most fat rolls to be the most appealing do to lack of vegetation and hunger. Other societies like woman to be robust, some prefer meek. Unfortunately america has created a woman in which the means don't nessiceraly justify the end. Creating an epidemic of eating disorders, low self-esteem and physical alterations.

1.The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan 2. 3.Effects of Objectification on Opposite GendersKalyanaraman, S., Steele, J., & Sundar S. S. (2000, June). Communicating objectification: Effects of sexually suggestive advertisements. Paper presented to the Mass Communication Division at the 50th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Acapulco, Mexico.

4. 5.Psychoanalytical feminism, Teresa Brennan 6. Oedipus complex, Claire Kahane