Sexism – Body Image in Media


Media advertising informs people that what is most necessary is howthey appear. The many advertisements use models to show how an idealfemale body should appear. When people see, models they desire toresemble them in all aspects, regardless of the cost. Most womendesire to resemble models because they suppose that resembling modelswill make them more appealing to men. Such beauty perceptions areshaped by a society that fails to understand that the models imagesin commercials and magazines have been created via photo-shop,computer retouching and airbrushing. It is impossible for anyone toappear so flawless. Nowadays, not just women feature inadvertisements, but men as well. The men in the advertisements arealso made to look perfect and create an ideal male appearance. Theoutcome of these advertisements is insecurities about how peoplelook, affecting both women and men.

Without a doubt, males are prone to insecurities like females. Womenhave always wanted to resemble the models they see on television andcommercials. Society believes that such body shapes are the best, inturn influencing women to harbor unrealistic ideas concerning theirbody images. We are all aware of advertisement’s influence onwomen astonishingly men face the same problem. Male insecurities arebecoming more widespread in today’s society.

Television is one of the most effective in shaping insecuritiesconcerning body image. This is because the images that people see ontelevision look so real. There are thousands of viewers, both men andwomen, who watch television and believe that attractive women shouldhave a certain body shape, size and dress in certain manners. In themovie Killing Us Softly 4, by Jean Kilbourne, the authorargues that the media is dictating how people should look, inspecific women. The woman’s body has become a thing and object,because of the many body images that are not real, but have beenshaped to appear, as what advertisements think should be real. Itbegins at young ages, when women realize the need to look attractive.This pushes most females to spend too much time, resources and energyon endeavoring to become the ideal woman (Kilbourne n.d). Femalesfail to comprehend that the models they see in advertisements havebeen dismembered, and the advertisers concentrate on perfectingcertain body parts, shapes and looks, which ensure the commercials,are appealing. The objective of commercials is to sell their productsand services. They will strive to achieve these sales, even when itmeans objectifying women. The outcome is widespread prejudice towardswomen by males. Men see the flawless women in advertisements anddesire for the same resemblance from their girlfriends or wives. Thisresults in negative, violent and abusive relationship because of thedesire to get and achieve desirable body images.

When growing up in an environment where there are images of perfectfemales on television and other forms of advertisement, it is normalthat every man expects to meet such women in real life. Culture isinfluential and it seems to hate females, “so men grow up in asexist culture have a tendency to do and say sexist things, oftenwithout meaning to” (Penny 1). This means that what men feel aboutwomen is what has been shaped by a culture that judges women anddefines how a woman should resemble. In the article Of Course AllMen Don’t Hate Women. But All Men Must Know They Benefit FromSexism, Penny argues that when men grow up around persons thatare negative towards women, or those that treat females rudely, theyalso act in the similar manner. It is even more surprising that whenpeople decide to speak about the prejudices, speaking out isconsidered a form of prejudice. When men stand up against the unfairtreatment of women, it becomes prejudice because the man seems to besupporting just one gender. Hence, even as more people focus onpushing for fairness among women, it becomes hard to achieve due tocultures already shaped about women. It is difficult to changedeep-rooted society beliefs on how women should look.

However, not just women are struggling with self-appearance issues.Nowadays, advertisements in television and magazines feature both menand women. Both genders are displayed in unrealistic body images. Fora long time women have struggled with enlightening society that mediabody images are not real. Hence, society should not accept women toappear as they see on advertisements. Instead, the opposite effecthas been achieved as society progresses to praise and accept models.Men have not been spared either and are now more than ever having todeal with self-image issues. In Cro-Magnon Karma: One Dude and HisBody Image Issues, Godsey narrates how his self image has beeninfluenced by famous male characters in the entertainment scene, suchas Brad Pitt. Other influences are men featured in magazines thattarget male fitness. Godsey explains how his personal self-doubtconcerning his body has had a negative impact of his marriage, by“making him smash her confidence while trying to build hisself-esteem” (120). The author informs that although males do notopenly express their self-image insecurities like females, they hidebody insecurities and present it as humor (Godsey 115). This meansthat males as well harbor self-image issues, which they attempt tohide from view by covering up with jokes. Males are taking up thehabits of wanting to resemble male models, just like women because“Society is telling men now, more than ever before, that theirbodies define who they are as men” (Godsey 116). There have beenhundreds of interviews conducted on men to find their perceptionsabout body image. It has become apparent that males are aiming atattaining physical perfection by using steroids some have eatingdisorders and different body obsessions (Godsey 116). In short,similar to females, males are harboring self-image insecurities at anincreasing pace.

Media has a powerful influence on self-image. People portrayedthrough the media have no flaws as they appear slim, have perfectbodies and features. The effect of these advertisements is creating aperception in viewers that it is possible to resemble the models.Both males and females are now struggling with how to look perfectand resemble models from media advertisements. Society believes somuch in these media images, which results in prejudice andself-consciousness by those that fails to have such body types.People need to understand that such body types are not real, as theyhave been edited to appear real. Editing removes any noticeableflaws, which justifies that no one is flawless. Individuals shouldlearn to accept how they look, because perfect self-image isrealistic.

Works Cited

Godsey, Chris. Cro-Magnon Karma: One Dude and His Body ImageIssues, 2000.

Kilbourne, Jean. Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s image ofwomen, 2010.

Penny, Laurie. Of Course all men don’t hate women. But all men mustknow they benefit from sexism. NewStatesman, Aug. 2013.