.. at includes two daily four mile runs, plus 45 minutes on the Stairmaster and 350 sit-ups. Bette Midler reportedly eats nothing but vegatable;es after 5:00 pm. Demi Moore’s workout ‘stresses cross-training: road cycling, ocean and river kayaking, snowshoeing, hiking,m skiing, plus daily-weight lifting’ She also has a live-in nutritionist/cook and a personal trainer” Zimmerman I). No one realistically is supposed to go to those lengths to keep themselves in shape or look like them; their body image is unrealistic to attain.
“We pore over magazines that show us the newest fashions in tandem with articles detailing how to hide your figure flaws” (Brew I). Magazines have no mercy on teens. “I’ve always found it fascinating that some of the loudest voices touting the ‘super thin equals sexy’ message comes from magazines written for pre-pubescent girls and teenagers” (Zimmerman I). For generations magazines encourage dieting and worrying about weight. “In the 1960’s MADEMOISELLE and SEVENTEEN magazines became saturated with columns and features with diet strategies and exercise habits of models– a practice that still continues to this day” (Jill I).
Magazine covers display pictures of men and women whose images are offered as near perfection in society’s consensus. People are drawn to magazines with weight-loss exercise articles. Women’s magazines contain 10.5 times more advertisements prompting weight loss than men. In 1992, there was rise in eating disorders and advertisements promoting weight loss in in women’s magazines Body image has certainly changed over the decades. In the twenties, the tubular “flapper” body was the feminine ideal. “Big-breasted, curvaceous women like Marilyn Monroe and Doris Day were certainly idolized in the fifties as epitomes of sexiness and cuteness, but the ideal mother and housewife was not expected to look like Marilyn; the more fashionable attractive women was supposed to be more Audrey Hepburn-esque in physique” (Zimmerman I).
In the sixties, British model Twiggy set the standard for British models. She was the icon of Mod at five feet, six inches, and 89 pounds. The media keeps dispenses these images, but they don’t realize the negative effects its causes on women and girls. “Time and time again, I hear this confession in he conversations i have with young women. They want to look good in a bathing suit. They want a tight butt.
They go on diets and work out everyday. They’re never thin enough, so they go to unnatural extremes. All they want to do is feel good about themselves in a sea of doubt and turmoil encouraged by a multi-billion-dollar-a-year beauty industry” Zimmerman I). Women feel they must look like supermodels in order to be accepted in today’s society. “And they think the panacea is to look like a supermodel: perfectly thin, tall, sculpted and commanding– our cultural epitome of feminine success” (Zimmerman I).
All this can happen from just seeing a billboard or a couple of commercials. These media images make women feel less about themselves, they want to look like supermodels: tall, thin, sculpted. “I like the sweater on this model and she’s not a supermodel.She doesn’t starve herself, you can just tell I’d be happy with that, That should be the kind of model that people should put in magazines, because its just getting out of hand with people not eating. The models aren’t eating and girls look at them and think. “look how pretty they are.
Look how skinny they are. Maybe if i don’t eat and ill wear those clothes, I’ll look like just like them. Girls won’t’ eat then they make themselves throw up” (Neumark I). They have low self esteems and feel this is the only way to be accepted into today’s society. This often causes eating disorders.
“A person who has an eating disorder is someone who uses food to work out her emotional problems” (Maloney 3). Instead of expressing feelings a person with an eating disorder thinks the only thing that will help them is eating. “Someone with an eating disorder is addicted to food or dieting, like and alcoholic is addicted to liquor or a drug addict to drugs” (Maloney 3). Food becomes their whole life. “Anorexia has been known and recognized by doctors for at least 300 years. Initially the characteristic that was described was the striking weight loss and emaciation resulting from failure to eat.
There are, however, a number of organic illnesses that result in loss of appetite and consequent weight loss, and so from the late 19th century doctors tried to describe more exactly what anorexia was and began to exclude organic causes and to identify it as a psychological illness.” (Buckroyd 3). Girls suffering from anorexia show a refusal to maintain body weight over a minimal normal weight for age and height. They are disturbed by their body image and are always claiming to “feel fat”. They have intense fear of gaining weight. (Buckroyd 4) Bulimia is another psychological illness similar to anorexia. It is the practice of consuming enormous amounts of food then throwing them up to avoid weight gain. Girls suffering from bulimia have recurrent episodes of binge eating and regularly engage in self-induced vomiting an average of 2 times a week.
(Buckroyd 21)These girls have a persistent overconcern with body shape and weight. (Buckroyd 21) Some characteristics that may occur with bulimia are damage to tooth enamel, digestive disorders, irritation of throat and mouth, mineral imbalance, loneliness, social isolation, low self esteem, shame and self disgust. (Buckroyd 21) Today’s culture places great emphasis on outward appearances. Society is very weight-concious, and the value placed on thinness has grown in recent decades. Admiration goes to people who are thin and heartlessness goes to the obese.
The media should give us a more realistic body type for girls and women to look up to. “But how do work on our self-image? How do we change our thinking and feeling habits in order to unite our various parts and neutralize the negativity that out culture blasts our way via the media? Unfortunately, we can’t wave a magic wand to make our culture more sensitive to our needs. But we can change our attitudes: we can refuse to take the media so seriously and we can challenge the images and their devaluing messages. The only way our culture will change is if we stop believing in the social attitudes which make us fell not good enough and start believing in ourselves and our right to OUR individual body– even if it isn’t a body type currently worshipped as fashionable” (Zimmerman I).