Month: March 2012

REAL V.S. SKINNY

In a lot of media today, we’re being shown the image of the “real woman.” She is curvy, toned and all woman. But is it really the media’s job to tell us what a “real woman” is? In 2004, Dove started the “Real Beauty” Campaign, which featured many women of different sizes, ages and nationalities. The idea behind it was to promote the “real woman” instead of the standard size-zero model. But my question is, are these women really the definition of a real woman? Does that mean that women who happen to be slim are discounted as women? Why does our body determine whether we’re real or not?

It’s not just in this campaign that we see the word “real”. In multiple seasons of America’s Next Top Model, we see Tyra use the term “fiercely-real” to describe plus-size models. Which leaves me wondering, what about the other women who don’t fit that mould? I understand that she is trying to promote a different type of body from the usual images we see in the media, but isn’t Tyra just creating a whole new mould that women must fit into to be considered real?

Why is skinny so bad? There is a difference between being ill and being slim, but being slight seems to come with a lot of prejudice nowadays. Is it fair to categorise women based on their figures? The modelling world seems to come with a lot of negative connotations, which is explored in this article from The Daily Beast.

How is it by embracing a different type of body type has the media excluded another?

MIXED MESSAGES

Most of us have a pretty good idea of what we think is the perfect body, right? But how many of us actually have this body? The problem is we all seem to have an opinion on body image and know what we strive to look like, but we rarely achieve it. Why? Maybe it’s because the images the media is presenting to us are unrealistic. Or maybe the media is confusing us with mixed messages about body image. It seems to me that we’re told that our body has to be just right, otherwise you’re unhealthy.

Here we have a classic example of the mixed messages the media is sending us. On the same cover of a women’s magazine we have criticisms of celebrities who are too fat or too thin. How are women supposed to be happy with their bodies when the media is telling us we have to fit an exact mould, otherwise we’re unhealthy?

Now, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a fan of America’s Next Top Model. At first I thought I had it figured out. Articles like this one have been telling me that models are portraying an unrealistic body image, and so when watching America’s Next Top Model I understand that the bodies on show are not representative of all women’s body types. So it came as a bit of a shock to me when Ana-Marie was eliminated from the competition because the judges decided her body promoted an unhealthy image to young girls.

This left me completely confused as suddenly I felt that the other girls in the competition, all of who were very slim, must have a healthy body. It put pressure on me to look like them as I came to the conclusion that if Ana-Marie was too skinny to be a role model that the other girls must be what I should aspire to be.

In all this craziness of the media, it’s hard to know what body is right or wrong. The idea of looking healthy doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with physical health, which is what confuses women the most. Are these images the reasons people never seem to be content with how they look?