As a society, we love the media. Sometimes it seems like entertainment is the only reason to live. (Grey’s Anatomy…Hero’s…come on!) However, sometimes we have to question certain myths and stereotypes that arises that inevitability affect our society. Dr. Mary-Lou Galician’s text, “Love Sex & Romance in the Media,” once again focuses on a stereotype that has affected our society for ages.
“To attract and keep a man, a woman should look like a model or a centerfold.”
In entertainment, there are beauties galore. From the fashion world, to movies, TV, book covers … even the hand models for lotion. It’s a huge stereotype that has affected real-life relationships and self-perception resulting in hazardous health and depression.
According to Dr. Galician’s text, “Unrealistic Playboy-style pictures of attractive women can have attitudinal and behavioral effects on men and on their real-life relationships. Real women can’t measure up to these seemingly real fantasies.” Unfortunately, this also affects young girls who feel they have to grow up to a certain irrational standard of beauty. On the flip-side, young males are also depicted as having to always have muscular body-builder bodies as oppose to feminized male physique.
Dr. Galician did a survey at Arizona State University on this particular question. Very few men or women agree that woman should look like a model or centerfold to attract and hold a man. As a result, within those small percentages men are far more likely to agree (around 15%-compared with only around 3% of the women).
Photo on the left by By Bru Garcia, AFP/Getty Images. USATODAY .com said the picture is of
USATODAY.com wrote an article asking if thin models warped girls’ body image. An excerpt from the article said, “The promotion of the thin, sexy ideal in our culture has created a situation where the majority of girls and women don’t like their bodies,” says body-image researcher Sarah Murnen, professor of psychology at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. “And body dissatisfaction can lead girls to participate in very unhealthy behaviors to try to control weight.”
For the folks that absolutely have to look like the cover model or the actresses on TV, there are actually self-help websites, blogs, books that say, “How to look like a Model.”
One blogger posted several pictures of celebrities without their make-up trying to prove how powerful make-up can be. This posted received a comment from an anotomyous blogger who said,
“Totally true. Plus a good hairstylist, good lighting, and good photography can make anyone look, if not glamorous, at least arty. When I was a kid, my father did some professional photography (really high quality stuff). He made everyone look beautiful or, for those with atypical proportions, visually striking. And I still use some of the tricks I picked up during a brief modeling stint 30 some years ago. Even now, I can look much “hotter” than I really am, though it takes more effort than I usually care for.”
Another blogger from NYC posts her own experiance. She wrote, “I wish I could believe that appearances don’t really matter, but we all know they do.” She goes on and mentions an encounter with a friend who constantly apologized for not looking as “hot” as she used to. She wrote, “After eighteen years of marriage, the wife of this ridiculously ripped man kept prefacing sentences with, “I know it’s hard to believe, but I was a catch when he found me” or “I used to be much thinner”. She felt like she had to apologize to the world for her appearance, even though she had found a beautiful man to love her. Now, no one rolls out of bed looking perfect.”
After the recent post, Cristina, a blogger, posted a comment in reaction to what I had to say:
Comment: “Gee, well…. it’s really hard. But I’ve started to accept my body, even though I can’t say it out loud, I just think I do. I’ve suffered from Anorexia since age 14 (I’m 27 now and recently entered treatment last June) and sure the media does tell women how they should look and how it will make them happy and crap. But it’s all a lie.”
Here’s my question to Cristina’s response:
Q: I’m glad you are in treatment and started to accept your body. If you don’t mind me asking, was one of the reason why you suffered from Anorexia as a young girl due to what you saw from the media?