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

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

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

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

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

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

Aronson (2004)


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