Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you love everything about yourself? Chances are, you do not. This essay will show you how society endorses an unrealistic body image to strive for, that you should not feel pressured to be like everyone else and you should feel comfortable in your own skin. Together we will explore what people in society perceive as the ideal figure, the media and business influence on how we see ourselves, how the media uses our self consciousness as a way to make money and how this affects society.
What does society perceive as the ideal body figure? Does anyone honestly know, because in reality when we think about it, does everyone want the same figure? Is what they wish to see in the mirror what everyone else wants to see? When we look at the ideal figure for a male, what is often seen as attractive is to be muscular and fit, with firm biceps not body builder huge but just right, you are expected to have chiselled abs and model perfect hair. An example of this perfect and generally unrealistic figure is in typical rom-com movies like the Lucky One or Friends with Benefits with male celebrities sporting perfect bodies. For the majority of men in this world it is unrealistic to have and maintain and, can in some cases be or become unhealthy. Though men may have it tough and have a lot of societal pressure women have it too. Depending what your body type is determines what perfect figure is expected of you. If you are a curvy woman you are expected to have a body that is near impossible to achieve without the help of plastic surgery.
Society shows us that you must have a tiny waist, large bust and a large bottom to have the perfect curvy figure. For instance Kim Kardashian or Nicki Minaj two celebrities who sport the flawless and effortlessly curvy body though mostly made up of plastic. This is unrealistic to have and maintain. On the other hand, if you are a woman with a body that is just straight up and down and you are not gifted in certain departments it is expected that you be stick thin with a thigh gap. You should look like a flawless Victoria secret model with no muscle for fear of looking too masculine. An example of this unhealthy figure has been in the New Zealand media recently when the clothing giant Glassons released mannequins that were attacked by the public and media who deemed the mannequins too skinny and said that they showed an ‘unattainable deception of women’. These three figures that have been covered are unattainable and generally unhealthy, we should not feel pressured to look a certain way where even the smallest of clothing does not fit. It is important for society to realise that you don’t have to be model thin, Kardashian curvy or chick flick fit, you just have to be healthy and comfortable in your own skin and realise that these bodies are not perfect they are unrealistic and unhealthy.
How do media and businesses influence society? They cause people to feel the need to be a certain shape to fit in or to be liked. There are many lengths people go to male and female to achieve the perfect body. As many of us spend our lives wishing we looked like this or like that, it is something the media has picked up on. The media and businesses have turned it into a profit making cash cow, printing magazines with models flaunting perfect bodies on the front cover, companies plastering bill boards and making tv advertisements saying don’t eat this food and you’ll have perfect sculpted abs in less than 14 days, or go on this fat burning diet and you’ll be runway ready in no time. Multiple magazines even have the audacity to fat shame celebrities, writing petty articles saying this celebrity has put on this weight! Look at this before and after, oh no there goes the beauty, wow they’re really letting themselves go.
This then leads many readers to think if thats how people react to celebrities gaining weight, how must I look walking down the street when I gain weight. An example of what the media and businesses do to make money is the typical infomercial advertising exercise equipment showing people with bodies that look like they have been chiselled out of stone claiming they got this body using this “Fat Blasting Ab Rocket” saying things like “In just 5 minutes a day, the Ab Rocket will rocket your abs from fat to fab!” We need to look at these products and think are they just trying to get my money. Look at it realistically do these people really get these bodies using that specific piece of equipment or diet, or is the perfect body actually achieved by having a healthy balanced diet and doing a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day. We should also remind ourselves when we read magazines that those perfect looking people have probably been retouched and retouched till they are unrecognisable.
Society should realise it doesn’t matter what magazines say and that as long as you are healthy and happy, you do not need to waste your time and money on unreliable exercise equipment and quick fixes like fad diets. When the media prints magazines full of fake looking people, businesses feed on the desperation of society to fit in. It may influence people in many ways, often negatively. In our society there are many people who are affected by advertising, magazines and other people who shame them for being who they are. In some cases it can lead to or trigger negative illnesses and many mental like eating disorders where people will go to unhealthy extremes to be how they believe society wants them to be, in some cases it can even lead to or start with depression, starting initially from judgement and self consciousness. Though it may start somewhere like school where you are bullied for being a different size to what is expected, statistics gathered by http://www.pacer.org
(National bullying prevention center US) show that in the United States in 2010 the reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (35%), and race (16%). They also showed that one-third of girls and one-quarter of boys reported weight-based teasing from peers. Prevalence rates increased to approximately 60% among the heaviest students and 84% of students observed other students being teased, being called names or getting teased during physical activities because they were perceived as being overweight. This is not okay. We need to continue to do all we can to stop this, it is horrible to think that people are shamed so much that they feel the need to go to extreme lengths just to be just to make others happy. In conclusion to have the perfect body that society advocates and pushes us for is unrealistic and almost unattainable.
To actually have or want a plastic photoshopped body that makes you look like a model is horrible that you feel so uncomfortable in your own skin you need to change it. People should not have to be pressured to look how they think society wants them to. The media and businesses need to stop using peoples self consciousness and desire to fit in as a way to make money since it is generally unachievable. So instead they should try to lift peoples spirits and get them to feel comfortable in their own skin. The world needs to realise and understand the negative effects these advertisements and articles have on people and how it causes them to feel about themselves, their body and their health. Society needs to find a way to help people to learn to love themselves and each other no matter what you look like.