Essay - Gender Stereotypes and Body Image the Media's Influence in Western...

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Gender Stereotypes and Body Image

***** media's influence in western culture is pervasive. Through magazines, television and print ads such as billboards, advertisers have consistently adopted gender stereotypes in terms of body image, and use these stereotypes to sell their products. Although it is certainly no secret that the stereotypical womanly ideal ***** slender ***** the point of unhealthy, the body image presented as ***** male ideal is similarly unrealistic. Men are consistently presented an overly muscular, perfectly lean physique as the ***** ideal to which *****y must aspire. In considering the effects of ***** unrealistic stereotypical ideals, it is important to consider just what the ideals ***** are, before one discusses ***** effects they *****. Finally, it is an interesting extension ***** the issue to look at the effects of the female stereotype on men and vice versa.

***** primary fac*****r ***** typifies female ********** in the media is thinness. The female ideal presented through advert*****ing (and other media, such as the celebr*****y ideal) is cons*****tently thin. This stereotype h***** been evolving over the decades. The ideal presented by the media to women forty or fifty years ago was *****t such an extreme one. Women in advertising, ***** women celebrities were more voluptuous. Just what is the female ideal presented ***** advertisers to women *****day?

1999 study into ***** stereotypes and women's weight found that 94% of magazine covers showed a woman who represented the ***** ***** overly thin. "A strong emphasis has ***** placed on ***** bodily appearance of women that equates a thin body to beauty, sexuality, and social status." (Malkin, Wornian & Chrisler, 1999). Given that the image presented appears so consistently (94% of covers) we can conclude that this is the stereotypical ideal female, as presented to women magazine readers.

The ***** ***** *****ness for women has evolved over the decades. *****stead of evolving in line with demographics (woman are getting heavier), the ideal stereotype presented is actually becoming more slender. Over ***** last 30 years, the weight of models (*****se entire job rests upon the ***** ***** the ideal female) ***** decreased by 23%. The average woman in ***** time, has seen her weight *****crease by 15%. (*****-goal.htm).Models *****mselves have weights that are greatly below ***** which corresponds to a he*****lthy ideal. "The majority of models ***** a weight ********** a BMI from 15 to 23% below the ***** of women of ***** same age." (

An analysis ***** advertising ***** the course of the twentieth century reveals the trend toward a thinner stereotype.

At the turn ***** ***** century, and attractive woman was voluptuous and heavy; ***** the "flapper" period of the 1920s, the correct look for women ***** rail-thin and flat chested. The ***** body type changed again in the 1940s, when Second World War "pinup girls," such as Betty Grable, exemplified a heavier st*****ard...British model Twiggy, introduced a very thin silhouette again. This *****mly thin standard ***** feminine physical attractiveness continues to this day. (Aronson et al., 2004, p284).

Aronson (2004)


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