These days, the media draws attention to what they define as beautiful—they create a world where the “ideal look” is comprised of flawless white women, with a perfect face and figure.  We do not see women who are average looking, overweight, poor, disabled or struggling[1]. When we see an add, the gorgeous woman modeling seems to be saying, without words, “Hey, look how pretty and happy I am! You could be like me too!  Just buy this mascara!” We see these beautiful people and get a glimpse of their perfect lives, and we instantly envy them.  This is exactly how the companies in the cosmetic industries want us to react.  We see the object being sold in the ad as the way to become as beautiful, desirable, happy and successful as the girl in the ad.

 

When the product doesn’t give us the satisfaction we want, we are disappointed and we continue to buy new and different products, each promising something different–smoother hair, flawless skin and kissable lips.

 

What we don’t realize, is that we have made it okay for women to be objectified.  When we buy the items, we showing the advertising agencies that women, sex and sex appeal does sell.  In fact, by partaking in this, we are not only promoting their messages about beauty, but we are fueling its success.

 

However, by upping the beauty standards to sell products, companies seem to be ignoring the fact that this tactic in advertising is unfair and misleading. Its angering to know that companies are making money by selling women on the idea that it is possible to be as beautiful and successful and skinny as the girl in the ad who is thinner than 98% of American women, and photo shopped to perfection[2].

 

The media creates an exaggerated view of the ‘ideal self’ and suddenly, average looks are no longer good enough.  Desperate to conform to these manipulated ideals and impossible standards, many women go to great lengths to change their faces and bodies. “A woman is conditioned to view her face as a mask and her body as an object, as things separate from and more important than her real self, constantly in need of alteration, improvement, and disguise.” [3]. Objectified constantly by others, she learns to objectify herself.

 

Not only are more and more woman tricked into fueling this negative cycle of objectification, but there are more woman than ever who do not think they are beautiful, who are getting cosmetic surgery, and are suffering from eating disorders[4]. Trying to become the ‘women’ that they believe the world expects them to be.

 


[1] “The Myriad: Undergraduate Academic Journal.” Westminster College: A Private Comprehensive Liberal Arts College in Salt Lake City, UT, Offering Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees in Liberal Arts and Professional Programs, including Business,

[2] Katz, Nikki. “Body Image Statistics.” – Women and Body Image. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2013. <http://www.personal.psu.edu/cap5202/blogs/women_and_body_image/about/&gt;.

[3] Kilbourne, Jean. “Beauty…and the Beast of Advertising.” Center for Media Literacy. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2013. <http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/beautyand-beast-advertising&gt;.

<http://www.personal.psu.edu/cap5202/blogs/women_and_body_image/about/&gt;.

[4] “Teen Health and the Media.” Teen Health and the Media. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2013. <http://depts.washington.edu/thmedia/view.cgi?section=bodyimage&gt;.