As society we assume that images we see in media that are highlighted and common are beautiful such as the tall, skinny, toned, ‘flawless’ models why else would they put them there? If a certain characteristic isn’t common in media then it can’t be beautiful. Media teaches us what beauty supposedly is and closes our eyes to beauty not physically shown. There are 3 main functions of media to provide news and information, entertain and educate. Presently our society depends on the media for information and communication and as part of our daily routine.
Most of the decisions we make are based on what we know as fact our assumptions and our experiences such as work where we know what to do because we have studied it and from our own experiences however in routine life and household chores we rely on media to keep us updated on news and facts, on what is important and what we need in order to get through our day and be accepted in society. We put so much trust in media but by doing so are we putting ourselves in harms way? On average a person is exposed to over 1,500 advertisements a day. 1,500 ads we are led to believe are factual and real because we have put so much trust in the media.
We start to believe that we need that cream to have flawless skin like that girl in the ad and we need that perfume to be as amazing as the next Marc Jacobs model. But the fact is that 100% of photos in professional magazines have been retouched whether by changing the lighting in order to improve the quality and definitions of models or even giving a model a whole new head. What we see is not reality. Beauty is something that is looked at differently throughout the world for example if you look at the culture of Australians compared to the cultures of Saharan people there are vast differences in their ideals throughout.
Each has it’s own concept of ideal beauty. Some things that come to mind would be weight, fashion, and tone of skin. Though each culture has its own specific parts and body shapes they prefer its like we have been trained to think a certain way from a young age all pertaining to which culture we are apart of. Research shows that some Asian woman after moving to Australia take on body image and dieting not common in their own countries. Media has people changing themselves and their idea of beauty in order to fit in. Not only has the media an effect on beauty across nations but also across time.
From corsets to bikinis, from fair skinned and voluptuous to tanned and toned and frightfully frail. Our perception of beauty is learnt and changes due to what we see in the media and shown as fashionable but is media changing this for the better? 20 years ago models weighed 6% less than the average woman now models weigh a huge 23% less than the average woman with only 5% of woman actually able to obtain this weight naturally. How is this positively effecting woman and young girls? Its not. 45% of woman that are a perfectly healthy weight think they are overweight and 20% of woman that are underweight are dieting.
Media is killing us with these perceptions of beauty and it’s taking over our minds, our ability to perceive what is right and healthy and the ability to say, “No, how I am is fine”. Everyone is different. Our idea of perfection and absolute beauty that we learn and which is portrayed in magazines and advertisements is generally unattainable but we still strive to look like these people that only 5% of our society actually look like. This small minority is said to be beautiful by the media leaving the rest of us in shame of how we look because we cant be beautiful if we don’t look like them.
Isn’t true beauty found on the inside you could be the most ‘beautiful’ girl in the world according to the beauty media teaches us but if you are the nastiest most wicked girl as well are you still beautiful? We are all thinking no but if you saw this person I bet we would be jealous of her we would want to look like her and be as beautiful as her… that’s disheartening that the most wicked girl can still be classed as ‘beautiful’. This is what media is teaching us about beauty that it is all about the outside and nothing to do with our nature and personality. `
Though we are taught what beauty is research has been done to show that humans are attracted to people with more symmetry features and that this something that we are born with not that we learn so the media is not solely responsible for beauty myths. Woman being attracted to masculine men is something that goes back to to medieval times where the more masculine the man the more strength and ability to look after and protect a family males are attracted to young woman as they show fertility and as a reproducing species this is important as older woman are unable to conceive.
There has been research to show we are born attracted to certain features but majority are still learnt as we grow up in a certain society. Media should portray fact not transform reality so that beauty is categorized. Do this by portraying models realistically, all different shapes and sizes cultures and races so that our perception of beauty isn’t all the same and showing that differences are beautiful and stopping the beauty myth that what we perceive physically attractive and beautiful is not natural it’s learnt.