The Media’s Version of Beauty

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In today’s society, the definition of beauty is very narrow. When you open a magazine, newspaper, book cover, turn on the tv, or go online there is usually a certain type of male or female that looks similar.

You usually see a tall, blonde, flawless, beauty with the perfect hair, makeup, outfit and body. Or, you might see a tall, dark and handsome man who is every girls dream guy.

The problem with this portrayal of beauty is that young girls and boys look up to these figures. They aspire to look exactly like them, but unknown to them, that is impossible.

It is totally okay to look up to someone who has a healthy workout, a healthy dietary plan, and is a model. It is so not okay to let little girls believe that the girls they are looking up to really look like they do in their advertisement photographs.

The models that we all see every day do not look like their picture. These models are perfect because of the skills of many people who spend hours upon hours creating the perfectly photoshopped image in order to sell or promote their product or business.

CBS news interviewed an agent and former model who had this comment on today’s modeling industry: “‘It is important that a fashion model is a fashion model.’ Bethann Harrison said. ‘She has to be lean. She should be tall and it is not someone who is fuller body. That is not fashion. That is something else.'”

As a young woman, that statement is infuriating to read. The fact that so many people believe the previous quote shows just how twisted our idea of beauty really is. It is not realistic for young girls to think that they have to be tall, skinny, and drop dead gorgeous. There are many factors like health and genetics that prevent many girls from being the perfect height or weight. We should not be putting that kind of pressure on young girls. We should be teaching young girls to grow up loving their body so that they will continue to have a positive body image as an adult.

Businesses put out images of models that are unrealistic, yet it works because most people want to look like the model they see in the picture. Consumers buy the product because they believe that it will make them look like the model shown with the product. This puts pressure on young people, but mainly teenagers. Most teenagers already feel the excruciating pressure to fit in, so it adds even more pressure when they see perfect images and try to live up to those standards.

These fake images of airbrushed models have provoked a real danger in the lives of adolescents. It  can make them hate their own body, which can be a serious harm. According to a study from Media Smarts,  “having poor body image can have numerous negative effects: one of the most common is lowered self-esteem, which carries with it its own associated risks. In a national U.S. study in 2008, 25 per cent of girls with low self-esteem injured themselves on purpose (compared to four per cent of girls with high self-esteem); and 25 per cent reported disordered eating (compared to seven per cent of girls with high self-esteem).”

This is an issue we have seen in the world since the start of the media world. The world’s definition of beauty might evolve, but the issue of unrealistic images still remains. It is more prominent in the present media world because now we have more technology to help with airbrush and photoshop to make it more realistic to audiences.

The only way this will change is if more companies take a stand to really show their models as who they are without all of the photoshop. The male and female adolescents need more positive role models to look up to who are proud of their bodies without all of the photoshop.

It is our job as citizens to demand that we want to see a more realistic version of what beauty really is. We should demand to see photographs that are untouched and real. The next generation needs to see a world where they can grow up having a positive body image that is healthy and real.

 

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