The Effect the Media has on Women's Self Image

Essay by ebarnichtaCollege, UndergraduateA, October 2007

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What is beauty? Is beauty a barely-there runway model? Is beauty an overweight Amazonian 20 year old? Is beauty a size eight 1950's movie star? Is beauty found in the Padaung women of Thailand that extend their necks with rings? Beauty is purely subjective. What may be considered beautiful by some, may not be considered beautiful by others. How does a person decide what is beautiful? A person's view on beauty is not decided by them, but is decided for, may even forced on, them. Society and culture are what influence a person's view on beauty. The media has the greatest influence on western society. Consciously, or unconsciously, the media and all of its components affect the way people think, feel, look, and talk. Beauty is represented by the media as something that women must want to embody, and men must want to possess women that embody it. Their image is not really individual, but it's set out by the media for them to imitate.

The media put out an image of 'ideal beauty' that women should want to acquire. The media does not only entertain, inform and persuade, but the amount of "perfect" images it shows makes it impossible for real women to be able to reach those standards. The pressure from the media many times leads women into spending incredible amounts of money and time at the gym, beauty parlor and receiving plastic surgery to improve their image because they do not reach that ideal image put forth by the media. The advertising industry creates insecurities and presents women with unattainable standards that the beauty, fashion and diet industries depend on. The media strives on the insecurities it has created in the self-image of the billion-dollar public it has created. Consequently, in order to maintain industries that depend...