The Dangers of Beauty Standards

Kristen Dunham: Reporter Kate Huete.
Reporter Kate Huete.

The media is often blamed for portraying body image in an unrealistic way. From magazines and billboards to movies and television, women and young girls are surrounded by the “perfect” body type. This unrealistic portrayal results in negative thoughts and insecurities women and young girls have in regards to their bodies. What exactly is to blame for this?

“Straight/Curve: Redefining Body Image” is a documentary about body image and what the media’s unrealistic standards of beauty are doing to women and young girls. The documentary is produced by Jenny McQuale, Jessica Lewis and Yael Melamede. All three of these women are experts in their field with experience in modeling. The official website for the documentary states, “91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies and diet to achieve their ideal body shape,” and “5 percent of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed in the media.” It also states, “70 percent of teens define ideal body image as what they see in fashion magazines.” These numbers are concerning. Statistics prove there is clearly something wrong with how the media portrays body image.

Many models are often told that they are “plus size” or “too fat.” As a result, models are either told to leave or their bodies are warped into something completely different through the use of editing programs such as Photoshop. These unrealistic images are then plastered everywhere, narrowing the public’s mind with these underrepresented images. It is highly unlikely for any man or woman to be able to find a model in a magazine that they can completely identify with. As a result of constant exposure, the minds of young men and women are left thinking that something is wrong with them. Negative body image can be considered highly dangerous, as these young people may turn to drastic measures to force change upon their own bodies and appearances.

When flipping through a fashion magazine, an individual is likely to only see thin, tall, beautiful women. There is also a huge problem with this, as many forms of media fail to represent all types of men and women. Considering the colorful array of people and appearances in America, the media should present diversity of race, age, size, gender, etc. It is important that a change is brought to society’s standards of beauty. The media arguably plays the biggest role in society’s views. What the media is producing in regards to beauty standards clearly needs to be altered.

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