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

The primary factor th***** typifies female stereotypes in the media is thinness. The female ideal presented through advertising (and o*****r media, such as the celebrity ideal) is consistently thin. This stereotype h***** been evolving over the decades. The ideal presented by the ***** to wo***** forty or fifty years ago was not such an extreme one. Women in advertising, ***** *****men celebrities were m*****e voluptuous. Just what is the female ***** presented by advertisers to women **********?

1999 study into advertising stereotypes and women's weight found that 94% of magazine c*****s showed a woman who represented ***** ideal of ***** thin. "A strong emphasis has ***** placed on the bodily appearance ***** women ***** 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 ***** women magazine readers.

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

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

At the turn ***** the century, and attractive woman was ***** and heavy; ***** the "flapper" period of the 1920s, the correct look for women ***** rail-thin and flat chested. The ideal 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 attractiveness continues to this day. (Aronson et al., 2004, p284).

***** (2004)


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