Women Get Real: The Ideal Body Shape

Balloon chests and tiny waists are now being rejected by women for a softer curvier body shape, gone is the idealistic ‘porn’ body favoured by men, women still favouring this look are models such as Katie Price and Pamela Anderson, who we all know have had a lot of cosmetic surgery to achieve their look. 

Women now feel that model Kelly Brook has the ideal shape, a soft body with curves and no enhancements, gone is the reality that being as thin as Kate Moss is the shape that must be achieved and attained by women, personally I’ve never found her that appealing and don’t see her as a good role model for young women. Have you ever thought that being skin and bone is attractive? Well not anymore as the rise of curves is coming, move over size zero.

Kate Moss“However 92 per cent of girls  reported they felt ‘under pressure’ to keep up with the latest body shape ideals, despite many women once again embracing a more natural look” Ladies should feel comfortable no matter what their size is! Don’t follow the trends or worse the silly celebrity diets such as ‘The Maple Syrup Diet’, embrace your body and dress to accentuate it. If you constantly worry if your the right shape or size then you wont be living your life to the full.

Marilyn Monroe was a healthy size 14 and im sure she never worried about being a size 6!  So whatever your size feel comfortable in your own skin or if you wish to lose a tiny bit of weight do it in a healthy way and not starve yourselves purposely or consider surgery because you feel its a quick fix.

Although the porn body may seem like every guys fantasy do you really think they’d want to settle with someone obsessed with their looks and surgery? Barbie is a doll for a reason she can easily be manufactured differently and women shouldn’t even try to achieve that ‘perfect’ plastic look.

marilyn_monroehttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2451153/Porn-body-backlash-Jordan-pornstar-look-womens-desired-shape.html

*images from Google

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Is Curvy The New Size Zero?

Everyday women are exposed to images of tiny women, ‘size zero’ models sparked the thinspiration trend, sufferers of this are rejecting their natural body shape to try to achieve the fragile appearance of super models with thigh gaps, as stated in a previous blog, the eating disorder charity B-Eat have stated that if someone has a thigh gap then their body is not yet adult….

Kate MossStriving for the super skinny look is both physically and mentally challenging on the body, individuals can be made to feel guilty if they indulge in meals being told that they’ll become fat or that they are fat for enjoying food, but why should someone be told not to like their body for what it is. An extreme of gaining an eating disorder from the goal of reaching size zero can lead to a body dysmorphic disorder where the sufferer will spent large amounts of time worrying about their appearance and will often see negative points which may not even be physically there, the image below demonstrates an example.

bodyimageModels like Kelly Brook and Kate Upton embrace their size 12 bodies and don’t strive for the unhealthy overly skinny look which comes with the negative effects of eating disorders, fragile appearances and in some cases bones sticking out of the body. 

Kelly Brook herself has this to say:

“A real woman should have curves. It’s sad that so many young, impressionable  girls are faced with images of seriously thin models and think this is the  way  they should look. 

Having an hourglass figure, boobs and bum is all part of being a woman. Size zero is over. Lots of girls say they admire my figure and, to me, that’s the most important thing.

Young women should have role models who aren’t constantly on diets and  brainwashed about fitting into tiny clothes. I dress to accentuate my  curves,  like Marilyn Monroe did. She oozed glamour with her shapely  silhouette.”

Females should be comfortable with their body shapes and accentuate what they have rather than trying to lose it to an unhealthy body weight craze. H&M openly admitted that they want to get away from the image of unhealthy models and use ‘real’ women in their fashion campaigns to promote a healthy body image, recent models have included Beyoncé and Jennie Runk a size 12 model from the USA.

Jennie RunkIt shouldn’t matter if you have a natural curve to your body, embrace yourself and don’t let anybody put you down over your size, thinspiration isn’t a good trend to follow and more should be done to stop images of ‘encouragement’ being openly posted on social networking sites. 

Move over size zero your time is coming to an end…..

Kate Uptonhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2333000/H-M-admits-models-skinny-embraces-bombshell-curves-Beyonc-plus-size-beauty-Jennie-Runk.html

*images from Google

Distorted Body Representations In The Media

Ideology is a media concept that individuals don’t even realise is taking place in everyday life, it is a concept that isn’t going to completely disappear due to the daily heavy consumption of media.  The definition of ideology varies between different theorists but the definition which I find more simplistic is with ideology being defined as “a systematic framework of social understanding motivated by a will to power or a desire to be accepted as the ‘right’ way of thinking” (Lacey, 2009, p.100) With the above message from Kate Moss it is no surprise that the ‘right’ way of thinking is starving yourself.

Ideology can be applied to the current issue of body image as it is a major factor of representation within the media, consumers of mass media are exposed daily to advertisements using slim models or images of celebrities with the ‘perfect’ body, the images and the underlying messages represent the super skinny body images as being perfect. It is also a false representation as a lot of the time airbrushing is put into place especially in magazine photo-shoots.

The above image of Britney Spears is an example of how this false representation is used to sway us, it is somehow socially unacceptable to present her true self to the world so fans that try to emulate her figure are striving for the impossible.

Small changes have even been made to this photo of Megan Fox, personally I don’t see why the changes have been made, but its another example of manufactured Hollywood.

Another bad representation of women is being spread through the media as young teenagers are striving for an unnatural thigh gap which of course first spiralled from the media.Social media is being used by teenagers regularly to share ‘thinspiration’ images and to inspire other young women to strive for the thigh gap look; I found many of these images on the popular image sharing app Instagram, users can easily upload images onto this app using hash tags such as #thinspiration, #thighgap and other eating disorder keywords and girls can easily view these images to be encouraged and motivated to starve themselves too so that they have this popular thigh gap, a wide range of the images will be users showing their frail bodies, the body which they wish to have or words of encouragement such as ‘eating won’t make you thin.’ Not enough is being done on social media to prevent this.

The hypodermic needle theory can be linked to this current behaviour as “This theory equates the influence of media with the effect of an intravenous injection: certain values, ideas, and attitudes are injected into the individual media user, resulting in a particular behaviour” (Fourie, 2007, P.294)The current values within the media is that young women should have a thigh gap as it is perfectly normal and is a step closer to the perfect body, women are sharing the images of ‘inspiration’ as it doesn’t seem like there is anything wrong with doing so when it is spiralling out of control and resulting in young women suffering from eating disorders.

The underlying systems of ideology make media consumers feel that striving for the deemed perfect image is the right way of thinking as it is the only body image being perceived within the media currently, celebrities are slated if they gain weight or are curvy so this is shown as an incredibly negative body image to have which is why young woman are striving for the perfect size zero body.Marxist critical theory would define thinspiration as a false reality created by a distorted vision with individuals unaware of the underlying ideological system.

The Frankfurt School links pseudo-individualization to the construction of an artist’s style, through their distinct image and identity. (Hodkinson, 2011, p.109-110) This is a relevant observation as a celebrity is famed by their image and must maintain it within the public eye and young women/teenagers often take into account a celebrity role model and are influenced by them.  Currently model Cara Delevingne is the role model that teenagers are following, she is a catwalk model that a slender frame and thigh gap and teenagers are trying to emulate her, it because of her distinct slim image that she is currently in the media eye, and if her image changed then teenagers would find a new role model to emulate.

According to the Daily Mail it was said over Twitter that in order to get this slim look users would deny themselves food as they are that desperate to copy the model.  The chief executive of the eating disorder charity B-Eat had this to say “Hardly anyone has a thigh gap without being underweight or not yet fully adult” the message is quite shocking but it is being ignored due to the new vanity inspired culture, ideology will never completely disappear but the message would change if the trend was to change, if a healthy body image was promoted then individuals would strive for that.  With the increase in mass culture being accessible through social media with the message of size zero being the perfect body image then individuals will always be exposed to this negative message, they will always believe with the use of ideology that it is the right way of thinking and until the message changes then the distorted vision will stay in place.

With her curvaceous body Kelly Brook doesn’t have a thigh gap yet she is still considered stunning which shows that you don’t have to be stick thin to be beautiful, she feels comfortable enough in her body so why shouldn’t everybody else? Personally I find her curvy body more appealing than Cara Delevingne’s and think more girls should reconsider striving for an unnatural thigh gap and just feel comfortable in their own skin.

*images sourced from Google

Bibliography

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2274227/Teenage-girls-obsessed-celebrity-thigh-gaps-starving-achieve-super-skinny-look.html

Hodkinson.P (2011). Media, Culture And Society an introduction. London: Sage. 109-110.

Fourie, J, P (2007). Media Studies Volume 1: Institutions, Theories and Issues. 5th ed. South Africa: Juta Education. 294.

Lacey, N (2009). Image and Representation. 2nd ed. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmilliam. 100.

Thigh Gap: Psychological Trap

thinspoA new dangerous trend amongst teenagers is starting to occur, it’s called the thigh gap and has been inspired by catwalk models and celebrities such as Amanda Bynes (She’s the man, Easy A) this new trend involves losing so much weight that your thighs don’t touch leaving this desired gap. I state teenagers as the audience as teenagers are highly influenced by the media and they are at the age most likely to develop an eating disorder.

What’s most worrying about this trend is that it is glamorising eating disorders and weight obsession. Individuals wanting this desired look are spreading the trend through Tumblr and Instagram, they share images of their progress and images of thinspiration and what they strive to achieve. What seems to be shown less often is the negative effects of an eating disorder, due to the celebrity culture thin is the only way in. If there were less pressures in the media to be so slim then individuals may start to accept their selves no matter what their shape or size may be. Instead they truly believe that in order to be ‘perfect’ or beautiful they must suffer until they have tiny waists and a thigh gap, this will just lead to health problems until they begin to recover.

I believe that the pressure to be perfect will continue and more and more people will suffer from an eating disorder whether they suffer from one naturally or choose to do so to follow these mad trends. A lot of people will call their selves fat and others around them when they aren’t at all, besides what is wrong with being curvy? It shouldn’t be frowned upon or even alienated.

Body pressure isn’t likely to die down until the media changes it’s approach to it, social media makes is so accessible to spread the word of thinspiration and inspire others to not give up until they achieve the fragile state. It also allows others to potentially bully those that are considered to be fat when they most likely aren’t.

What should be approached more is the negative affects of anorexia, bulimia and eating disorders, it should be educated more in schools, colleges and university. Magazines and television adverts should promote charities and support outlets to help individuals beat their problems, otherwise it could lead eating disorders being developed at a faster pace and at younger ages.

thigh gap

*images from Google

Thinspiration: Tragic Trending

Thinspiration is becoming even more accessible through the media to ‘inspire’ those with an eating disorder to achieve the perfect skinny look which is being perceived with celebrity culture. Even more worrying is that through the internet girls all over the world can access these images through sites such as Tumblr and Instagram by simply hashtaging key words such as ‘thinspo’ ‘eatingdisorder’ and ‘thinspiration’. Shouldn’t the sites take more control over their content? What right do the publishers have to try and influence such a dangerous disorder, even more tragic is that Kate Moss supposedly a ‘role model’ posed for an image quoted ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ she should have known the dangers of this message, of course being a model the norm is to be quite slim but she shouldn’t be putting the message across to impressionable individuals.

ThinspirationAnorexia also looks like it is becoming a life choice rather than a diagnosed disorder, bloggers and members of Instagram have openly admitted that they are beginning their ‘journey’, anorexia is not a journey it is a serious problem. A lot of the girls that I saw stating this or already had eating disorders were only young teenagers yet to fully develop, they should be embracing life not counting calories and getting caught up in such a dangerous disorder. Not only is anorexia becoming so dangerously popular it is also leading to other problems such as self harm and suicidal intentions, having your bones stick out your body and match stick legs wont make you happy, weight loss becomes a dangerous cycle.

Unhealthy Publicity
Unhealthy Publicity

Unhealthy Publicity

It should not be glamorised through the media as being something girls should aspire to do, shocking images of negativity are used to make it look like that if you eat then you are or will become fat, it is a serious problem that should be educated more, you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty if you eat or are trying to get over an eating disorder. Although celebrities perceive a slim image and are publically slated if they gain weight it doesn’t mean that everybody should feel that way. ‘We live in a cultural Disneyland, where everything is parody and nothing is better or worse’ – Jean Baudrillard

Everybody is different, we all have different body shapes and unique styles, we shouldn’t push to look the same as everybody else especially when it has dangerous consequences, embrace your life and let go of the anorexia demons, losing weight to have a skeletal figure will not make you beautiful it will just make you miserable.

The right support is out there to fight your disorder and gain back your health and your life, images and websites for thinspiration isn’t the right way to go, it wont make you feel any better, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends and family, getting better wont be easy but small steps at a time will help you achieve your goal.

 http://www.b-eat.co.uk/http://www.samaritans.org/

*images sourced from Google

Representations: Body Image In The Media

Britney SpearsRepresentations are often described as being imitations or having a resemblance to a certain idea or image, however in relation to representation within the media “It emphasises that, however realistic or compelling some media images seem, they never simply present the world direct” (Branston & Stafford, 2010) This shows that a media representation is often ‘re-constructed’ when being presented rather than being an exact mirroring from the original source, e.g. a photograph isn’t directly presenting the original image in which the photographer will see, in the case of a magazine photo-shoot the image will have been edited till it is deemed as perfect, be this by changing the appearance of the model with touch-ups or by simply changing the background so the viewer won’t be given an exact image of what the original source looked like, depending on the subject in the photograph it could also be interpreted differently by the audience. If magazine images are so heavily touched up then how can it be possible to actually gain that perfect body image, not many viewers will take into account this and will still strive to gain the false body image.

Another example of re-constructed media is newspapers editors, they will be publishing information that they have received so they will be re-presenting the information in articles from the original source in order for the audience to receive the intended articles. These shape our cultural values as often enough impressionable readers that see models photographed will want to imitate their image and maybe even follow their diet routines as they believe they will gain that perfect body, but due to the false representations of photo editing then our culture is shaped by chasing the impossible ‘perfect’ image dream.Katie PriceThe use of representation determines what the audience finds to be ‘normal’ so this can be linked to ideology “a systematic framework of social understanding motivated by a will to power or a desire to be accepted as the ‘right’ way of thinking” (Lacey, 2009) In terms of media it is now common for our culture to be highly influenced by vanity and the idea of having the ‘perfect’ body, this is because there is high pressure within the media to look a certain way, whether it is supermodel skinny or the stereotypical image of a male fantasy woman inspired by ‘Lads magazines’, these woman are usually blonde, large breasted with small waists. It very common amongst young adults and teenagers to want to change the way that they look to fit this norm as they are highly influenced by the media in which they consume, magazines, advertisements and social media, an example of this outcome is ‘I want to change my body’ which was a documentary aired on BBC Three in November 2012, which showed exactly that, many of the young adults on the show felt that they had to change their image in order to be ‘normal’ and socially acceptable, one girl in particular wished to have a boob job just because she felt inadequate due to the impressionable media of ‘bigger is better.’ This is often down to influences by models such as Katie Price who is regularly in the media for changing her body, as her presence dominants the media through modelling, journalism and television programmes, she has gained quite a large female fan base so often fans will want to be like her. Although she is perceived as being quite dominant and headstrong she is clearly insecure with her appearance as she is always changing it.

An article on The Daily Beast shows that according to a study on plastic surgery it was found that “79 percent of the 42 patients examined said that television/media influenced their decision to pursue a cosmetic-surgery procedure.“ Again this high percentage supports how impressionable media consumers are, as they cannot avoid daily media it is affecting the way that they perceive their selves, If it wasn’t for vanity being deemed important within the media then plastic surgery wouldn’t be quite as common or as popular as it is today, however it has helped to shape cultural values by making individuals feel the need to fit in.

Stereotyping is another form of representation which can shape our cultural values, “stereotypes work by taking some easily grasped features presumed to belong to a group” (Branston & Stafford, 2010) An example of this is by the use of stereotyping all youths as ‘hoodies’ which is often linked to crime related activities which is represented in the news, not all teenagers and young adults will even consider crime but because of this stereotype if they are seen wearing a hoody whilst shopping then they will automatically look suspicious. Stereotyping can be broken down into different groups, age, gender, race and religion. As stated above the ‘hoody’ stereotype is aimed at younger adults and teenagers and shapes our culture by discriminating against this target group by giving the assumption that this generation is full of criminals. Gender stereotypes primarily state that the male is more dominate to the female and that her place is in the home rather than being independent and hardworking, this representation is shown in the media through the use of advertisements such as Fairy Liquid where it is always a female shown doing the washing up rather than a male, it is also shown in other cleaning adverts, although culture has changed and women are now independent and work rather than staying in the home this stereotype will most likely remain meaning that women will remain discriminated against for being the less dominant gender. Another gender stereotype includes ‘dumb blondes’ often within television programmes a blonde character will keep the ‘dumb blonde’ stereotype because it is so well perceived, although intelligence isn’t based on your hair colour this stereotype is still used quite frequently. As media consumers are often consumed by what they see in the media then the stereotypes could turn into discrimination in everyday life which could lead to problems created in the society such as bullying, cyber-bullying, discrimination, racism, sexism etc.