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

The primary factor that typifies female stereotypes in the media is thinness. The female ideal presented through advertising (********** o*****r media, such as the celebr*****y ideal) is cons*****tently thin. This stereotype has been evolving over the decades. The ideal presented by the ***** to wo***** forty or fifty years ago was *****t such an extreme one. Women in advertising, and ********** celebrities were more voluptuous. Just what is the female ideal presented ***** advertisers to women *****day?

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

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

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

At the turn ***** the century, *****nd attractive woman ***** voluptuous and heavy; by the "flapper" period of 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 again. This *****mly thin standard ***** feminine physical attractiveness continues to this day. (Aronson et al., 2004, p284).

***** (2004)


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