Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Today body image and the idea of wanting to be skinnier is a huge obsession for women and young girls all over.  I know personally the idea of being skinnier is always on my mind and in a way controls how I live my life. If you were to rate your body image from one to ten now (one being poor body image and ten being very good and confident body image); how would you rate yourself?  Right now I would rate my body image as a five because there are days I feel good and confident about my body and others I feel like I should lose some weight.
Why is it that many women today have such poor body image? There are actually many reasons for this but one I have been looking into is Fashion. “Fashion is more than clothing; it is also fashionable image which deals with appearance and body shape.” (Gibson, Pamela Church)  I didn’t realize how much fashion is one of the reasons held responsible for body image until I began reading different articles and excerpts from fashion books. Through the media, magazines, and advertisements we see slim thin bodies everywhere. We look to these thin bodies as a model of how everyone’s body should look like to be fashionable. Designers create clothes that are small sizes and therefore the models wearing them on the catwalk have to be slender and frail to fit into them. Viewers of these shows see the models making them think that these fashions only look amazing on those body types.  
460 × 323 - Fab Victoria Secret Underwear. Healthy Victoria Secret Model

Looking through Victoria’s Secret magazines and just seeing pictures like the one above makes women and girls everywhere think that this is how they should look to be sexy and fashionable. We think to ourselves, this is what guys want not curvy overweight bodies in which most average women have. Images like this are what create poor body image for the average women who are actually normal unlike the models.  After watching the video below I realized how true this is to our society today. As a young girl and still today when I get magazines in the mail, I compare myself to what I see. This isn’t healthy especially how fashion is affecting girls’ body image at such a young age.

430 × 456 - An online petition titled "Please Lindsay, Eat!

Many celebrities help advertise the idea of being super skinny. For example, in the picture above is Lindsay Lohan who over the past few years has taken drastic measures to have the perfect body according to fashion. However when you really look at the two pictures, most people would say that she is too skinny in the one on the left. The other picture on the right she looks healthy and still skinny. The question though for the picture on the right, was she skinny enough for fashion? Seeing these two pictures makes me realize that even some celebrities have issues with poor body image igniting their obsession to be thin. Even Tyra banks a former model talks about her body image in the video below.

If you really think about it, it seems insane that we are trying to be and look like something because the media is saying that skinny is fashionable, but is it healthy?  In many cases what we see in magazines as the perfect body is not even real, the images of the models are computer manipulated. They use “photo shop to smooth model’s skin brighten the whites in the eyes, enhance her breasts, and lengthen her legs. Fashion’s ideal of beauty is not the celebration of the natural, but the test of women’s ability to defy it.” (Arnold, Rebecca)  I hate to admit to it but we almost all do it, we are always trying to lose a few pounds to try to get to what we think is an appropriate weight or to be as skinny as what we see in the media.  Through the media the idea of creating a good impression in the skin rather than in clothes has also been brought to viewers’ attention; for this reason, “physical fitness is gaining a new kind of disciple, drawn toward sports and exercise mainly by fashion and desire to look young.”(Fraser, Kennedy)  We diet, exercise, take slimming pills, or inhabit eating disorders to try to gain so called “perfection”.  For me, I try to exercise almost every day and if I miss one day I feel that I shouldn’t eat as much that day because I don’t want to gain weight. What is even worse is when I do get to the gym almost all I see on the television commercials is about losing weight and becoming skinner to look fashionable, it is always on my mind, there is no hiding from this brain washing idea of how everyone should be skinny.
                I think deep inside many of us know that we shouldn’t be falling under the pressure of what fashion says is the right body type. But who is going to be brave enough to make a difference; the video below may be a push of inspiration for some of you.

I think about it now and it really needs to be stopped, but can it? How can we stop this obsession of wanting to be skinny? Media and fashion will always be something revolving around our life so we can’t stop that, but it’s time for a change as it shows in the video below.

There are many videos online that are against fashion’s idea of being skinny, I have never seen these commercials on television before but that’s where they should be informing everyone. Watching them made me feel more confident of my own body and other viewers I could assume would feel the same way…let’s see what you think.
New Sexy Victoria Secret ad video
MTV "Anti Size Zero"
Size zero- stupid girls

I’m not saying put it end to it all because that would be impossible, media doesn’t have to stop showing Victoria’s Secret commercials or skinny celebrities in magazines; instead with those commercials also show the anti-skinny commercials  as well. I personally think seeing both types of commercials more evenly would therefore decrease the obsession of disliking your own body and wanting to be skinny, moving forward leading to a much healthier society.
These commercials below, I think would really make a difference especially to how younger girls view their own bodies.
The Psychology of Beauty - Media affects body image

Comercial Don´t die for diet

 Informing girls of accepting their bodies at a young age can help tremendously. There should also be programs that come to schools teaching this idea of loving your own body and not falling into the idea of what you see in the media of being skinny as what is right in the world. These ideas I feel could prevent girls and women from having a poor body image or developing unhealthy habits.
                By doing this project for class it really made me change my view on fashion and how it affects me. Fashion will always be around us, we can’t stop that, but don’t let it control how you feel about yourself and your body. Be who you really are, and don’t let it change you.

Works Cited
Gibson, Pamela Church. “Redressing the Balance Patriarchy, Postmodernism and. “Fashion Cultures:
            Theories, Explorations, and Analysis. London: Routledge, 2000. 342­-362. Print.

Fraser, Kennedy. "Fitness." Fashionable Mind. New York: Random House. 63-69. Print.

Arnold, Rebecca. Fashion, Desire, and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the 20th Century. New
            Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2001. 89-95. Print.