By: Deja

A woman should have a curved shape with big breasts, a flat stomach, slim waist, and toned legs. If you are a woman, and do not fit these specific features, then you are not “sexy” or “appealing.” This is how the mind of society has evolved to portray a woman’s body. Unfortunately, this has caused many women, especially teenagers, to reach crooked conclusions about their bodies and take drastic measures to reconstruct bodily imperfections. The images of beauty are unrealistic and hurt them by assaulting their body image. Body image is a major factor in self-esteem; which is the way an individual feels or thinks about themselves. For many years, society has created an impractical view of body image for women. Around the world, women are continuously bashed for not possessing the physical features of the ideal body image. This is an issue that must be addressed because women deserve to be respected and admired, no matter their size or shape.

Magazine publishers and photographers are often blamed for portraying an ideal body image through advertising which causes women to question their looks and lose their boldness. These people are trained to edit and airbrush photos to alter a woman’s standard look; to make them appear “better” or “perfect”. This is also known as photoshop, where an individual is able to alter an image through an image-editing software. Editors are able to make women appear slimmer, remove any blemishes, whiten teeth, change eye color, enhance skin tone, etc. Once all of these changes are made to a woman’s appearance, it is no longer natural beauty but artificial beauty. Movie directors and even video producers refuse to accept women to feature in their movies, commercials, or music videos, if they do not expose a certain type of sex appeal. Hundreds of modeling industries require specific looks for women to obtain. Victoria Secret, is an American designer, manufacturer and marketer of women’s premium lingerie, womenswear and beauty products. Their models must between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall. They must meet the specific measurement requirements of a 34-inch bust, a 24-inch waist, and 34-inch hips. Women who do not fit these requirements are typically not considered to model their designer clothing. However, expectations are acceptable only if the model contributes other desirable attributes, such as a “beautiful” face. This type of behavior influences society, especially the youth culture, to only accept beauty as what they see being portrayed in social media. Not only do these businesses and corporations shun women of their natural beauty, but society’s criticism causes women to physically alter their looks.

Women alter themselves to fit the stereotypes of the “perfect look.” Women spend countless dollars on makeup, beauty products, and cosmetic surgery, to “enhance” their beauty. “ The pressure to look good has allowed cosmetic surgery rates to increase by nearly 20% since 2008. A few cosmetic surgery procedures are breast enhancement, facial and body contouring, facial contouring and rejuvenation, and skin rejuvenation. Women can now physically change their appearance by getting botox, facelift, liposuction, breast or butt lifts, etc. Miami board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Salzhauer, better known by his screen name, Dr. Miami, is notorious for recording his operations through social media, such as snapchat, as he “[rearranges] the shape of his patients’ bodies.”  Also many weight-loss solutions/products have skyrocketed in the market due to women’s’ insecurities. Diet-pills, waist trainers, and plastic surgery are three major ways women nowadays try to lose weight or “mold” their bodies. Now, some women simply just want to change their appearance for the sake of themselves, for their own good and self-confidence, and not society.

Instead of handling the situation in a healthy and positive manner, many teenagers  are choosing a dangerous route instead. These young ladies begin to develop health issues, such as bulimia or anorexia, by obsessing over what they eat and their weight or physical appearance. Bulimia is an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting. Anorexia, also known as anorexia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Studies also show that these girls influenced by the media, wanted to lose nearly half of their weight even though more than half of these girls were at a healthy weight. Society has caused women to take drastic measures in order to fit in with the “norm.” While living in a world where society creates this “image” for women, women begin to start  actually believing what they are being exposed to and this begins to mentally and emotionally affect them.

Society has mentally and emotionally affected women by their absurd ideal image of a woman. The level of self-confidence and self-esteem falls to an ultimate low. Women begin to focus on their physical appearance and sexual appeal as a measure of their self-worth. They begin to believe that they are not as worthy, or desirable, if they do not look a certain way.  “Catfish,” is a MTV series that brings together couples who’ve interacted solely through the internet for months. A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they are not by using social media to create false identities in order to pursue deceptive online romances. Although, this show does consist of both male and female, it contributes to the message of this essay. Women are so afraid of not being accepting for who they are, that they feel the need to portray themselves as someone else to get attention. Some of the men on this show actually fall in love with who they’ve been writing back and forth for months. They fall in love with the personality of the person behind the screen, but once they finally meet this person and this particular individual doesn’t look as how they thought they did, that “love” has vanished. If society was not as judgmental or subjective, then women would become more emotionally and mentally sustained.

However, there are many individuals who believe the images of beauty are not unrealistic and should not hurt women. These people agree to this “ideal body image of a woman.” They believe women who do not naturally possess these seductive features are held at a disadvantage. If women do not have the big breasts, curved shaped, or flat stomach, then no men will find them attractive. “Women should be toned, tanned, and lack excess fat.” Even political figures, such as Donald Trump, are vulgar and profane, when it comes to women and respecting their bodies. Miss America, Alicia Machado, told CNN, Trump called her “Miss Piggy” and that she has “gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.” It has been taught in society to believe that women should not let themselves get to an “unattractive” size or shape and achieve the “ideal look.” It is very unfortunate for women who do not acquire this specific “look” because they are neglected in society, by other women and especially men.

If only women would exploit their sex appeal, than maybe women will achieve more in life. This is the intolerant mindset that has been disclosed to society. Women of all shapes and sizes are not appealing in society or the media. A woman’s purpose is to appear dateable and sexy to a man. More job opportunities are available to “sexy” or “appealing” women. Alluring women have a higher chance in becoming more successful in a workplace. Jobs such as acting, modeling, exotic dancing, etc. If society did not hold women up to this “ideal image,” then women would be more comfortable and confident in their own skin.
Social media has brainwashed society and has a huge effect on the body image of women, which cannot be ignored. If this type of behavior progresses, more and more women will continue to feel rejected by society. We must learn to embrace and value women as the beautiful creatures they appear to be.

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