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A popular culture of thinness

August 5, 6:26 PM · Pamela Patterson – Portland Women’s Issues Examiner

 
Unrealistic beauty images and body size ideals are continually emphasized, and reinforced in Western culture; an illustration of this can be seen in magazine editorials featuring dangerously thin models. It seems that beauty is now associated with being skinny, as the media routinely encourages women, both young and old, to reduce their body weight down to unhealthy sizes. As a result, women have started loathing themselves, for not being thin enough (“No longer Just a Pretty Face” International Journal of Eating Disorders, pg. 343). http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/complete-index.shtml

August 5, 6:26 PM · Pamela Patterson – Portland Women’s Issues Examiner

 
Unrealistic beauty images and body size ideals are continually emphasized, and reinforced in Western culture; an illustration of this can be seen in magazine editorials featuring dangerously thin models. It seems that beauty is now associated with being skinny, as the media routinely encourages women, both young and old, to reduce their body weight down to unhealthy sizes. As a result, women have started loathing themselves, for not being thin enough (“No longer Just a Pretty Face” International Journal of Eating Disorders, pg. 343). http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/complete-index.shtml

Repeated exposure to unhealthy imagery is a crucial component in the internalization process that leads to low self esteem, and body dissatisfaction. The business practices of marketing and advertisement agencies prey upon impressionable women, whose self esteem is at risk. Moreover, beauty products and clothing advertisements encourage pathological narcissism, which can lead to Body Dysmorphic Disorder. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/291182-overview

A key aspect of the media’s negative impact on women may not be simply how thin the models depicted appear to be, but also how frequently women are exposed to these images. The subliminal messages of idealized beauty, albeit unobtainable for most, are being repeatedly propagated by the media. The average body size for fashion models has decreased significantly from 1980 to the present, which also coincides with an increase in eating disorders among women. Ann Simonton, a former fashion model, and lecturer on the bias of commercial media, noted that the other models frequently complained about their different body parts. This seems odd, since fashion models are supposed to represent the idealized beauty that the rest of society upholds. It is important to note that it is now a customary industry practice to airbrush the faces and bodies of fashion models in print ads. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1068186/index.htm

Narcissism exists in everyone to an extent, but it becomes pathological, when it is associated with expectations of perfection, and a willingness to do anything to achieve perfection. Body Dysmorphism, is a preoccupation with physical appearance, in which the sufferers assume that they are being judged on their imperfections. Marketing insiders are perceptive in assessing that the human desire for social acceptance, can lead individuals to take extreme measures in order to fit in.

When popular culture becomes fixated on a particular look or body type, beauty standardization happens inadvertently, because the beauty trends are inspired by popular culture. Idealized beauty has negative social implications for all human beings in general, because human genetics plays by its own set of rules, with no regard to the preferences of popular culture.  http://cmch.tv/research/fullRecord.asp?id=819

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