Everywhere we venture, we are exposed to some sort of media content. This journal article discusses how body appreciation in the media does protect women from the thin-idealization of the media. We are beginning to see more coverage on the media that promotes the idea that women should love their body such as the “speakbeautiful” campaign by Dove. Although these positive messages increase the esteem of women and girls all across America and play a role in building a healthier mental body image of themselves, does it ignore the serious obesity rates in the United States? For example, this ad featured on Buzzfeed highlights an obese model on Torrid’s new collection. This Buzzfeed article praises Torrid for using the beautiful Tess Munster in their new collection. Tess Munster is considered obese for her size.
Surely we want people to feel good about him or her self mentally, but it is critical to promote the idea of a healthy and active lifestyle given our growing rates of obesity in the United States. 20.5% of adolescents in America are considered obese and 68.5% of adults are considered overweight or obese. Certainly, having the thin-idealization in media did not help curve the statistics, but displaying obese models will not help either. Maybe when promoting the body appreciation images, companies or campaigns should use healthy models. Models should be measured in weight and height within the healthy ranges of BMI in order to appear in the media. This is especially important for the media that usually has children and adolescents as audience members because we want to instill this message in them. Hopefully, this message carries over into adulthood and the pattern continues for future generations to come.
Just recently, many celebrities have been caught in photoshop scandals. Many fans and viewers reported celebrities photoshopping their pictures in order to appear thinner, and to manipulate their bust and buttocks to look larger than they are. The photoshop issue has been an ethical problem as discussed in this New York Times article. The article discusses how the same celebrity on a cover of a magazine would appear drastically different on another magazine. It creates a negative body image for women because no one can achieve the looks that are shown in magazines and the media. This article was written in 2009, but this instagram photoshop scandal is recent to 2015. Some celebrities today are manipulating their own pictures because I believe that they are upheld to this high standard of beauty. For example, Kim Kardashian has been accused of photoshopping her derrière because she is famously known for that body part. Beyoncé was caught photoshopping a thigh gap on one of her instagram post. Target has been on the backlash when it was caught photoshopping a thigh gap on one of their models in a swimsuit catalogue. Almost all magazine or advertisement pictures use photoshop, but when do we say, “that’s too much?” Is it when we can detect the obvious photoshop mistakes or that a picture looks almost too unrealistic? We must draw a line somewhere, and we cannot only punish or call out “bad” photoshopping. Or should we eliminate photo retouching completely? Aerie lately launched a campaign in which it did not use any retouching software on their models. Would this type of campaign change the way we view beauty in the U.S? I think so. Photoshopping may be needed to sell products to viewers, but the cost of doing so is too great. The perception of beauty that the media displays cannot be attained and it is affecting the people’s, especially young women, self-esteem and self perception for a long duration time that is unintentional.
Written by: M. Hoang