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

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Gender Stereotypes and Body Image

The 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 ***** slender ***** the point of unhealthy, ***** ***** image presented as the male ***** 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 such ***** stereotypical ideals, it is important to consider just what ***** ideals ***** are, before one d*****cusses the effects they *****. Finally, it is an interesting extension of the issue to look at ***** effects of the female stereotype on men *****d vice versa.

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

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

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

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

At the turn ***** the century, and attractive woman was voluptuous and heavy; by the "flapper" period of the 1920s, the correct look ***** women was rail-thin ***** 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 *****mly thin standard of feminine physical attractiveness continues to this day. (Aronson et al., 2004, p284).

Aronson (2004)


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