Females nowadays are pressured more to be accepted into society and they pay a heavy price to be able to. Not just the mass media, but all of the American society has created the image that women have to be a certain pant/dress size, wear certain brands of clothes and makeup, being tan, — I mean, I can go on for days — yet what the media portrays beauty, not even the models are considered perfect. This is because photos are Photoshopped to a degree where even the model states “that’s not what I actually look like” and they post the original photo outtake from the photoshoot to show that they’re not as perfect as everyone else is.
I’ve been trying to find out if there was a deeper meaning to why the media depicts women like they do, but all I was able to find was what was mentioned in the documentary Miss Representation. The fact that the media only gossips on a woman’s appearance just shows how much everyone only cares about appearance and not a woman’s intellect.
Science has unlocked what makes a pretty face and it has to do with symmetry. If a person has a symmetrical face, they are more attractive to others and tell them that they have better genes. They have also found that men find women more attractive when women have waists so small that the body they want doesn’t actually exist in nature. This just further validates the fact that everyone is told what they should be attracted to by the media because not everyone’s face is perfectly symmetrical, which is why photo editors Photoshop photos all the time, if everything on a person’s body is symmetrical, that person is considered more attractive.
Sex appeal sells in this day and age and that’s the reason why both men and women wear less and less in advertisements. Women are used as sex symbols in movies that direct their audience toward men, yet movies where the woman is the main character, they’re considered chick flicks. Growing up, I didn’t see a difference between women in action movies as opposed to chick flicks because they’re what we call “badasses” or “bosses” because they’re powerful; but as I was getting older, I started noticing that even though women in action movies are kicking ass next to the men, they’re also used as sex symbols because they’re always incredibly attractive and, of course, fit because they have to be able to kick ass next to the males.
A great deal of movies display the main and supporting female characters as what they think is beautiful and it sends the wrong message to us all that we can’t look like ordinary or unique and that we all have to look the same to be desired by the opposite sex or whoever we’re attracted to. I am a huge fan of the Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence (best known for her role as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games) because she’s criticized and she doesn’t get offered certain movie roles because she refuses to diet for them just because she’s not a size five. In my eyes, as well as many others I know, she’s considered a role model because she is a talented young woman with normal body weight and incredibly vocal about her health.
Men have a distorted ideal of what beautiful means. They want a woman who is conventionally beautiful and skinny — or fit. When men express these thoughts publicly, they make those of us who aren’t skinny and beautiful to society’s standards feel like we’re never good enough for anyone. Not only do I have personal experiences with this myself, but I have had to deal with this in the past week with a friend of mine. A guy my friend is attracted to said something very off-putting and it enraged me because of how it made her feel about herself. She was tearing herself down like I’ve never seen her do before about her appearance and how she’ll never be good enough for anyone and it absolutely broke my heart.
This is my dilemma with beauty; the opposite sex looks at how good looking a person is first and foremost when looking for a companion instead of looking at what how warm their personality is or how good their chemistry is. Personally, I don’t care what people think of me, I am who I am and I won’t change for anyone; I wear t-shirts and jeans or shorts and I don’t wear makeup. By nature, women are beautiful already. We are mothers, we give birth, we love, we take care of our children, our husbands or boyfriends; there’s no need for makeup, fancy clothes and other things. As pleasant as that might look to the eye, that’s not beauty. After all, when beauty fades, what matters is what you have in your heart.
Because of the negative body images that we are exposed to, we all as the American population will continue to be influenced by the media and how they portray women as long as we continue to let them. Women spend on average of $13 million a year as a whole on beauty products and clothes. Is this more because we are afraid to let others — especially attractive males — see what we actually look like without putting on pounds of makeup, doing our hair and being stylish or is it because we just want to feel good about looking good? I think it’s a mixture of both, but I couldn’t tell you if there are more women who believe one over the other. I’m going to end with a fairly lengthy quote from pop artist Lady Gaga on her cover of the December 2013 issue of Glamour:
“I felt my skin looked too perfect. I felt my hair looked too soft. I do not look like this when I wake up in the morning… I don’t even look like this. Fight back against the forces that make [young people] feel like they’re not beautiful. It is fair to write about the change in your magazines, but what I want to see is the change on your covers… When the covers change, that’s when culture changes.”