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, telev*****ion 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 is slender to the point of unhealthy, the body image presented as the male ***** is similarly unrealistic. Men are consistently presented an overly muscular, perfectly lean physique as the stereotypical ideal to which *****y must aspire. In considering the effects ***** ***** ***** stereotypical ideals, it is important to consider just what the ***** ***** *****, before one discusses the effects they have. Finally, it is an interesting extension of the issue ***** look at ***** effects of the fe***** stereotype on men ***** vice versa.

***** primary factor ***** typifies female stereotypes in ***** 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 ***** to women forty or fifty years ago was not such an extreme one. Women in advertising, ***** women celebrities were more voluptuous. Just wh***** is the female ***** presented by advertisers to ***** today?

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

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

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

At the turn ***** the century, *****nd attractive woman ***** voluptuous and heavy; by the "flapper" period of the 1920s, the correct look ***** women was 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 standard...British model Twiggy, introduced a very thin silhouette *****. This extrememly thin standard of feminine physical *****ness continues to this day. (Aronson et al., 2004, p284).

Aronson (2004)


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