Society and body image: Is that chick really crazy?

Editor’s Note: The author, Myeisha Marshall, is a student in the fall 2010 Women’s Studies Program Special Topics course, That Chick is Crazy: Women and Madness, at The University of Akron.

Society portrays women as some kind of “perfect” beings, with perfection requiring a perfect body structure. This, of course, is impossible.

The perfect body is tall and skinny, with a flat stomach, straight hair, and flawless skin. This is not possible for anyone, as the images we see in the mass media are airbrushed. Websites such as shows celebrity photos before and after airbrushing.

How are women supposed to gain these perfect bodies when celebrities don’t even look that way in real life? Women are stuck with these images of “easy breezy beautiful cover girl” from commercials that sell all kinds of make up. Every other commercial shows how you can lose this ridiculous amount of weight or clear up your skin with Proactive.

Women are surrounded with pressures to be a size 4, while the average woman in America is a size 12. The average height for women in America is 5’3”, but what you don’t see is a model or actress of this height. Even the average height for Miss America is 5’6”. The point is that average women aren’t really portrayed as beautiful or desirable by the media.

Society affects women in many ways, and here are just a few:

  • Ÿ  Music videos that tend to show women with less clothing revealing their bodies.
  • Ÿ  Women’s magazines that tell us what healthiness looks like.
  • Ÿ  Commercials on television that constantly show what an average woman is supposed to look like.
  • Ÿ  Watching fashion models who tend to weigh 23% less than the average female.

Some of the effects of not being able to achieve these body types include:

  • Ÿ  Depression
  • Ÿ  Binge eating
  • Ÿ  Disordered eating
  • Ÿ  Bulimia nervosa
  • Ÿ  Anorexia nervosa
  • Ÿ  Plastic surgery

Overall, you can see that women have a lot of pressures placed upon them to achieve things that are impossible.

There is no perfect woman out there. Even the woman that they call the “Barbie woman” can never look perfect. There are effects of feeling inadequate, that you can’t live up to the standards of society, but every woman has gone through that stage. You are not alone in feeling that you may not be just like the women on television. These women who are on television don’t even look like themselves.

So is that chick really crazy? The woman standing in the mirror holding in her stomach or pulling back the skin on her face to get rid of wrinkles is not crazy. She is just dealing with the everyday stressors of being a woman in this day and age, when everyone is expected  to be perfect while keeping a sound mind.

Who’s really the crazy one? Women – or the people behind the media?




One Response

  1. I have a strong opinion on this from my women’s studies class i took in college several years ago.

    First, the media definitely doesn’t do a great job forming girls and young womens minds to be confident in who they are. This is a complete shame and nothing new… sex sells.

    I wish there were more roll models for young girls and women to look up today but the simple fact is… we are an image obsessed society.

    It is sad… the women standing in the mirror aren’t crazy.

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