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

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

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

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

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

At the turn of ***** century, and attractive woman was ***** and heavy; ***** the "flapper" period ***** 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," ***** as Betty Grable, exemplified a heavier st*****ard...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).

***** (2004)


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