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, ***** body image presented as the male ***** 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 *****s, it is important to consider just what ***** ideals ***** are, before one discusses the effects they have. Finally, it is an interesting extension of the issue to look at the ***** of the fe***** stereotype on men ***** vice versa.

The primary factor ***** typifies female *****s in ***** media is thinness. The female ideal presented through advertising (and other media, such as the celebr*****y *****) is cons*****tently thin. This stereotype h***** been evolving over the decades. ***** ideal presented by the media to women forty or fifty years ago was not such an extreme one. Women in advertising, ***** women celebrities were m*****e voluptuous. Just what is the female ideal presented by advertisers to ***** today?

1999 study into advertising *****s and women's weight found that 94% of magazine covers showed a woman who represented the ideal ***** overly *****. "A strong emphasis has been placed on the bodily appearance of women ***** equates a thin body to beauty, sexuality, and 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 ***** of *****ness for women ***** evolved over the *****. Instead of evolving in l*****e with demographics (woman are getting heavier), the ideal stereotype presented is actually becoming more *****. Over ***** last 30 *****, the weight ***** models (*****se entire job rests upon the stereotype of the ideal female) has decreased by 23%. The average woman in this time, has seen her weight increase by 15%. ( *****mselves ***** weights that are greatly below that ***** corresponds to a healthy ideal. "The majority of models have a weight *****nd a BMI from 15 to 23% below the ***** of women ***** ***** same age." (

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

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

Aronson (2004)


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