Is the Media Creating an Unrealistic Expectation of Women’s Bodies?

Makayla McNett

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(Photo Credit via Pexels)

In today’s world, most of everything revolves around the media. People are constantly faced with images and advertisements, and many of these include women.

The problem with this is that these women are often unrealistic and are very often photoshopped. This can cause low self-esteem and confidence issues. These images set a standard for women that is just completely unrealistic.

When girls are young, they are faced with the images of women in the media and toys like Barbie, both of which have unobtainable body types that girls feel pressured to recreate. Setting these expectations can often cause women to develop unhealthy eating habits and an unhealthy mental state. Low self-confidence and body image issues are targeting girls younger and younger as the media becomes more prominent.

BBC News did a survey on 559 seven to ten year old girls, and asked them questions about their confidence. 36% said that they were made to feel the most important thing about them was their looks, and 38% felt they were not pretty enough. 35% agreed women were judged more on their appearance than their abilities, and 23% felt that they needed to be perfect.

Another survey was given to nearly 1,000 eleven to twenty-one year olds, and their answers were even worse. 80% felt their looks were the most important thing about them, and 66% felt they were not pretty enough. 93% agreed women were judged more on their appearance than ability, 47% believed their looks held them back most of the etime, and 61% felt that they needed to be perfect.

A significant reason that most companies use the images of these women is to sell their products. If women are yearning to be or look like the women in these photos, then they are more likely to buy the product that they are advertising. It is a twisted look on the advertisement business, but it is the truth.

A lot of companies such as Aerie, Rebdolls, and Modcloth promote body positivity, and use more realistic looking models to promote their clothing and products. Cutting the photoshop, and using real images of real women is a positive for everyone. This helps women feel better about themselves, and helps everyone stop setting such unrealistic expectations for women’s bodies.

All companies should follow in these footsteps, and that would make for more body positivity in all women. Presenting young women and children with these unrealistic images can cause for some long term damage to their idea of what their body should look like. Everyone should become more aware of the toxic images they are surrounded with everyday so that everyone has an opportunity to be the change.