Thursday, 30 August 2012

Dead Perfect

body image, distortion by Salma Rana

Body-image and general self-image is an issue that haunts the minds of all kinds of people, both young and old. The media tells us that we live in a world full of ‘perfect’ people. Television, magazines and adverts reinforce this on a daily basis and even though they are doing this in order to encourage people to buy their products - they seem to have distorted a woman’s perception of what a healthy weight is and seemed to have made them want to look a certain kind of ‘beautiful’.

Although the pressure to be perfect is increasing for both men and women, this article will be heavily focusing on women. 

Take a look at ‘Victoria’s Secret’ ‘Love My Body’ campaign. The title sounds promising and because it is linked to a big brand, so does the actual campaign. You’d think that this campaign would be targeted at all sorts of women, who are all sorts of shapes and sizes…

victoria's secret, love my body campaign

Looking at the image advertised with the campaign, clearly this is not the case at all. The campaign seems to be saying that you have to be at least 5’ 9” and stick-thin in order to love your body. The women in the image are airbrushed, have similar professionally made-up hairstyles and have an almost identical bust and waist size. This is the kind of media that negatively influences women and builds up unrealistic expectations.

It isn’t just adverts that help increase the pressure to be perfect. Barbie dolls are extremely popular among children and many little girls idolise the toys. What would Barbie be like if she were a real woman?

if barbie were a real woman, barbie

If Barbie were a real woman:

  •     She would be 6’ 0”.
  •     Weigh 100 lbs.
  •     Wear a size 4.
  •     Her measurements would be 39”/21”/33”.
  •     She would be too thin to menstruate.
  •     She would not be able to hold up her back and neck.
  •     Her waist would be the same circumference of her head.
  •     Her hips would be wider then her shoulders.
  •     She would weigh so little that she would have to be under constant hospital supervision to survive.
  •     She would have to crawl on all fours because her whole body would be imbalanced.
  •     And, her waist would be so small that all of her organs would have to have been pushed up, down, or closer together, to fit, causing significant medical problems.

Girls as young as 10 years old are going on diets in order to achieve what they believe to be a healthy weight. This, of course, is disturbing because they are still growing and diets can stunt growth. The truths don’t just end there.

  •     80% of children who are 10 years old are afraid of being fat.
  •     Obese boys and girls have significantly lower self-esteem than their non-obese peers
  •     7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationships.
  •     13 percent of girls age 15-17 acknowledge having an eating disorder.      

      More statistics can be found here

    britney spears, models, media, airbrushing

    Many people often look at the models shown by the media and feel bad about themselves and then strive to look a certain way. But these people also forget that the models shown by the media go through mass editing after photo shoots. For example, look at the image above:

    In order to create flawless images, various techniques are used. As mentioned before, airbrushing is used to ‘smooth out’ imperfections in order to make the skin look clearer. Digital enhancement is used to accentuate aspects of a picture, such as making the hair of models shiner and defining muscles. Models are made to look thinner and taller, their eyes bigger, and their jaw lines more defined through Photo manipulation.
    The beauty industry seems to be hurting everyone, not just the young girls whose self esteem of is lowered as they aspire to look like the models they see on TV. The models themselves must feel the same after they see the ‘ideal’ version of themselves. A good example is this video

    It is calculated that around 40% models could potentially have an eating disorder.

    Then you also have to remember the effort that they have to put in, in order to maintain the way they look. This can often be dangerous. Take Luisel Ramos for example, she was a Uruguayan model and in August 2006 - she died. She was only 26 years old but she ended up living on a poor diet of just diet coke and lettuce leaves and starved to death. A mere six months later her sister, Eliana Ramos, who was just 18 years old was also found dead. Her death was linked to malnutrition and anorexia. In November of the same year, Ana Carolina Reston, a Brazilian model also died from anorexia. The list just goes on and on…

    The women mentioned above all had a BMI below the critical 16 mark.   
    Many fashion labels such as Prada, Versace and Armani have agreed to ban seize zero models and it is urged that other labels do, too. (After all, the clothes they model will be worn mostly by average sized people, who are not a size zero.)

    This article was focused more on the negative and darker influence of the beauty industry. What I also am pleased to see is that there are other people that are aware of the influences of the beauty industry and are taking a stand. Take a look at Dove’s Real Woman campaign. (Note how greatly it contrasts to Victoria’s Secret)

    dove, real beauty campaign

    What I love about this is that it shows how things are and nothing is covered by mass editing. The women are smiling, they are of different races, have different hair and body shapes, and they seem to be embracing their beauty. This is Real. 


    Post a Comment

    Hi there!

    We'd love it if you'd share your thoughts and ideas. Don't forget to check back after commenting because we try to reply to all of your comments.

    Just remember to be nice, please!