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Fashionably Deformed

We are constantly bombarded by the idea that Thin = Beautiful. It’s everywhere. Magazines, TV, movies, billboards…everywhere we look we see this message. So we try to mimic it. Just go on a diet, exercise obsessively, and if those size 0 jeans still don’t fit, why not take that last step and start starving ourselves? Then we’ll be thin. Then we’ll finally be “beautiful.” But even then, what if the image in the mirror is not what we hoped for? What if we still see the person looking back at us as “fat”? Unfortunately, no amount of starving will change this mentality in someone with anorexia.

When people see pictures of those with anorexia, they are shocked and disgusted by the skeletal person staring back at them. They wonder how anyone could ever do that to themselves, but is that really the case? Are they really to blame for their own anorexia? Or is the twisted beauty ideal that the media feeds to us to blame? It teaches us that being beautiful and, therefore, thin is the most important thing, that that’s the only way people will ever accept us. And with the way people have bought into this image, believing it so wholeheartedly that they spend millions on beauty products, can you really blame someone for taking what probably started out only as a diet a little too far? I don’t think we should, not when anorexia is the result of trying to become thinner, something society tells us we should want to do. It’s not their fault; it’s the unobtainable goal the media sets for us.

But it’s not just the average media consumer who is at risk for developing anorexia; those who are already considered beautiful by the public are at risk as well. Fashion models are constantly pressured to lose weight even when they are already incredibly thin. A medical classification of “underweight” becomes the norm until we see emaciated women strutting down the catwalk in clothing that is practically falling off their bodies. This isn’t a healthy image to present in general, let alone to present in association with beauty. It perpetuates the notion that the only way to be beautiful is to be impossibly thin, feeding into the image the media presents.

Over the last decade, we’ve see the beauty ideal associated with thinner and thinner women. If we’ve reached the point where skeletal models as labeled as beautiful, what’s next? If the trend continues, “beauty” will only be obtainable in death.


2 Comments

  1. alemara123 says:

    Media shows us contradiction images of thinness and advertisements for food. From one hand, it shows us that “thin=beautiful” as you mentioned above. From the other hand, it shows us the sugary and fatty foods of McDonalds, Burger King, Famous Donuts,…..etc. The sources of nutrition in TV ads regarding foods are almost the exact opposite of what the government’s food pyramid recommends. I think it is better for us not to trust media and to stay away from the obsession that “thin=beautiful” because it is wrong. If I am healthy and happy, then it doesn’t matter and I don’t care if I look fat.

  2. willisjm says:

    Being a mother of three daughters and a mentor to various other young women, the subject of “size” is a never-ending discussion and on-going battle to encourage self-confidence. It frustrates me that two of my daughters are considered “skinny” and one, my youngest, is often called “chunky” or “fat”. Oddly enough, I find myself constantly reinforcing what I’ve always told them and that is that they are all beautiful. Of course, in their eyes, I’m only saying this because I am mom and as with many young people, they absorb media representation and opt its idea over mom on most occasions. The “skinny” ones feel they are too skinny and the “chunky” one feels she’s too fat. Honestly, my bigger battle will be in convincing the youngest that she’s beautiful because it is very unfortunate that media representation of people who aren’t thin is either non-existent, lazy or unintelligent. Worse off, there really aren’t many thick, heavy, fat or obese people portrayed in a positive manner and this gives girls who fit these descriptions no place of beauty in society. This is at least where it stands in media and it is unfair as is true beauty has no particular size.

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