Meeting media’s unrealistic mold

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Chris Hardy -- The media has a negative affect on body image.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the thinnest of them all?

Many women around the world today suffer with self acceptance and body image. Many starve themselves to be thinner, bleach their skin or dye their hair as they strive to be anyone but themselves.

Many popular TV shows feature young women who are tall, young and thin. With perfect ideals displayed, women strive to fit this definition of beauty. Whether they long to be the girl who wears the smallest size of jeans or the girl with the best fashion sense, many just want to be anyone but the reflection staring back at them.

Even pop stars like Victoria Beckham and Paula Abdul have spoken of insecurities they felt as they dealt with eating disorders while trying to reach society’s unrealistic expectations.

According to the Media Awareness Network article “Beauty and Body Image in the Media,” women’s magazines have at least 10 more articles promoting weight loss than do men’s magazines.

Many women think what they see in magazines is what they’re supposed to look like, and they aren’t beautiful unless they look like a model or TV star. Many TV shows portray a glamorous lifestyle in which every girl has a thin figure, clear complexion and amazing hair.

In reality, this isn’t accurate, as models are airbrushed and altered in Photoshop. Every girl has different curves, different skin types and differ- ent hair textures.

With this variety, how can there be set beauty standards?

One disturbing aspect of media expectations is they make standards for women impossible and deadly. Anorexia and bulimia are two common eating disorders from which young women suffer when they strive to reach this unrealistic mold.

Anorexia is a psychological disor- der in which the patient has a distorted body image and a fear of becoming overweight. A patient suffering from anorexia will starve themselves and suffer greatly from malnutrition.

Bulimia is another eating disorder in which the patient will deliberately vomit in order to achieve rapid weight loss.

These eating disorders are common among women and are in many cases presumed to be caused by media and its expectations for women. What is it that leads women to feel pressured?

“It makes me wish that I could dress and look like the girls that I see on TV,” Cassadi Boyd, freshman, said. “It also makes me want my life to be more adventurous.”

The media clearly has an effect on women and around what they base their lives. By making an ideal image hard to achieve, cosmetic and diet industries keep consumers drawn and interested in buying products to achieve their goals.

According to MediaAwareness. com, the diet industry is worth $40 billion to $100 billion selling tempo- rary weight-loss products.

If women of all ages suffer from eating disorders, what can be done to help promote healthy eating habits? This can only begin when they’re real with themselves and others. The media doesn’t depict what a healthy body looks like.

Fasting, skipping meals and depriving the body of necessary nutrition is not a healthy eating habit. There’s a difference between being thin and being healthy.

There are many reports of women who have fainted on set from starving themselves. Many feel the media tells women they need to change. They aren’t perfect, but who’s perfect?

Each woman has their own individual flaws, and that’s what makes them beautiful. It isn’t about the size of pants you wear, the clothing brands you wear or the color of your hair. It’s about your unique curves, untamable hair, the gap between your teeth and the freckles on your nose.

God made all different, so why strive to be the same?

About Whitney Waters

News Editor

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