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, television and print ads such as billboards, advertisers have consistently adopted gender stereotypes in terms of body image, and use these ***** to sell their products. Although it is certainly no secret that the stereotypical womanly ideal is slender to the point of unhealthy, ***** ***** image presented as the male ***** is similarly unrealistic. Men are consistently presented an overly muscular, perfectly lean physique ***** the stereotypical ideal to which *****y must aspire. In considering the effects ***** such unrealistic stereotypical ideals, it is important to consider just what the ideals presented are, before one d*****cusses the effects they *****. Finally, it is an interesting extension of the issue ***** look at the effects of the female stereotype on men and vice versa.

The primary factor th***** typifies female stereotypes in the media is thinness. The female ideal presented through advert*****ing (and other media, such as the celebrity ideal) is cons*****tently thin. This stereotype has been evolving over the decades. ***** ideal presented by the media to wo***** forty or fifty years ago was not such an extreme one. Women in advertising, and women celebrities were more voluptuous. Just what is the female ***** presented by advertisers to women *****day?

1999 study into ***** *****s and women's weight found that 94% of magazine covers showed a woman who represented ***** ideal of ***** thin. "A strong emphasis has been placed on the bodily appearance of 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 that this is the stereotypical ideal female, as presented to women magazine readers.

The ideal of thinness for women ***** evolved over the *****. *****stead ***** evolving in l*****e with demographics (woman are getting heavier), the ideal stereotype presented is actually becoming more *****. Over the l*****t 30 *****, ***** *****ight of models (whose entire job rests upon the ***** of the ideal female) has decreased by 23%. The average ***** in th***** time, has seen her weight *****crease by 15%. (*****-goal.htm).Models *****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 *****% below the ***** of women of ***** same age." (

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

At the turn of ***** century, and attractive woman ***** ***** and heavy; by 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," such as Betty Grable, exemplified a heavier st*****ard...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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