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, ***** 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 they must aspire. In considering the effects of such unrealistic stereotypical **********, it is important to consider just what the ideals ***** *****, before one discusses the effects they *****. Finally, it is an interesting extension of the issue ***** look at the effects of the fe***** stereotype on men *****d vice versa.

***** primary factor ***** typifies female ********** in ***** 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 media to women forty or fifty years ago was not such an extreme one. Women in advertising, and women celebrities were more voluptuous. Just wh***** is the female ideal presented by advertisers to ***** **********?

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

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

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

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

***** (2004)


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