Effects of aging on beauty and societies views on growing older.

Essay by eaprokesCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2003

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Aging Beautifully in America

Body image in the United States is associated with attractiveness. "Fueled by the hugely profitable cosmetic, weight-loss, and fashion industries, the beauty myth's glamorized notions of the ideal body reverberate back upon women as 'a dark vein of self hatred, physical obsessions, terror of aging, and dread of lost control'" according to Naomi Wolf (Schiebinger 2002:397). Many of the ideals are unrealistic for some people and attained artificially through drugs and elective surgeries by others. As America's culture has become more and more sexually driven, the need to look young, thin, and beautiful has become an overwhelming part of daily life. Above all else in the desire to become beautiful, the main goal is to achieve eternal youth. From movies, to television, to magazines, the media is constantly filling the minds of Americans of all ages with images of eternal youth and sex. In this quest for eternal youth, Americans have been doing everything possible to maintain a slender, fit body; wrinkleless, blemish-free skin; perky breasts (females); and a full, non-grey head of hair.

Though some of these ideals, such as being in shape and looking your best, promote positive societal goals, others such as becoming anorexicly thin and undergoing risky elective surgeries to look "perfect" encourage destructive behavior. This paper will seek the potential advantages and disadvantages of America's youth focused society while paying particular attention to body image ideals.

While America's youth obsession tends to be most apparent in women, it transcends people of all genders, races, and religions. Since the feminist movement, young girls have grown up being taught that true beauty comes from within and that they are more than just sex objects for men to ogle. The media, cosmetic companies, and plastic surgeons, however do not seem to hold this same...