Essay Sample on Contemporary Body Image

Paper Type:  Argumentative essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1821 Words
Date:  2022-10-04


Body image characterizes an individual's acuity of the aesthetics or the sexual allure of his/her own body. It also focuses on explaining how a person views himself/herself based on the various standards that have been set by society. The phenomenon has been aggressively fueled by the media, which has manipulated the public's perception of self-image and identity and made it an effective marketing stratagem for a range of household and commercial products. The focus of this research in to analyze the concept of contemporary body image through an analysis of past published publications on the subject. Today, body image has become a vital component of self-identity and marketing enforced by the media to achieve vast returns on corporate and domestic sales and in the process conjuring gender biases in the body's sexuality.

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Body Image as a Prevalent Issue in Contemporary Culture

Body image in contemporary society is focused on defining how individuals perceive their body visually and how they feel about their physical appearance. It is also focused on how people think and talk to others about their bodies and the personal sense of how people view their bodies. How people look has possible never secured such importance or reflected so significantly on an individual's self-worth than it has today. Subsequently, this has made people invest large sums of funds in self-beautification ventures like cosmetology in an effort to appear perfect as per the perceptions of others.

Particularly, the media has become more assertive in reinforcing the public's perception of body image in different aspects of life. Such derived perceptions have made people to naively or perceptively validate or perpetuate their beliefs on the pertinent methods of dressing. Subsequently, the phenomenon has made people feel bad about themselves if they find that the perfect perceived images of others are not in themselves. Arguably, the search for a perfect body image is a cycle that breeds discontent among millions of people around the world, irrespective of their economic or social positions in their immediate societies.

Form or Function

Hull, Smith, and Schmittel (2015) are plausibly among the numerous validate research that has validated the premise that body image has become a vital corporate marketing commodity in today's contemporary society. In their research, Hull, Smith, and Schmittel (2015) focused on the use of body image by the ESPN Magazine, Body Issue, within a period of five years (Hull, Smith, and Schmittel 111). The findings of the research were also based on a comparison of the men and women depicted in the magazines as marketing acolytes for the ESPN's products. The comparison of the men and women modeling pictures depicted in the publication were compared on the theoretical grounds of framing, photograph motion, amount of clothing and gender with the goal of determining gender biases.

The findings of Hull, Smith, and Schmittel (2015) research illustrated that men and women in the pictures posted on the ESPN magazines were represented in a relatively equal frequency (Hull, Smith, and Schmittel 113). Nevertheless, the overall manner in which the athletes had been framed was disconcerting. The images appeared to focus more on the sexuality of the model athletes published in the magazines, instead of on the athleticism nature of the sportspersons used as marketing paraphernalia in all the Body Issue releases. The findings of Hull, Smith, and Schmittel (2015) also suggested gender bias in reference to the manner in which the bodies of men and women were exposed to fit the society's parity of body image attractiveness.

The focus of the marketing done on the Body Issue issues also appeared misguided in the ESPN's magazines since sexuality was more emphasized on the graphical postings instead of athleticism. That is because in all the 32 sports represented over the five years the research was conducted 90% of all the athlete's photographs were naked (Hull, Smith, and Schmittel 111). Only the first issue featured athletes in their underwear or a mild stage of undress, which is a proportion that accounted for approximately 10% of the remaining photographs featured in the releases (Hull, Smith, and Schmittel 111). Moreover, across all genders, the photographs depicted were more sports' passive than active.

The ESPN's magazine being centered in sports and promotion of sports gear, in rationality, the images of the athletes in the publications should have been portrayed as active. For instance, male athletes should have been depicted as "real men" with attractive images of strong, tough, and aggressive men who love sporting posted on the magazines. Instead, the greatest proportion of the pictures posted on all the issues of ESPN magazine appeared to emphasize more on the sexuality of the athlete models. In this case, the female athletes showcased were emphasized based on their femininity and heterosexuality, which are aspects that are entirely separate from athleticism.

In accordance to the validation offered by Hull, Smith, and Schmittel (2015), it is as such conclusive that body image with a precise focus on sexuality has in today's contemporary society become a vital tool for sales promotion. The findings of the stated research can also support the premise that the public's perception of various products and services is to a large extent related to the sexuality component employed to market such products. Subsequently, the corporate arena has made vast investments in marketing techniques that are largely sexual in their development so as to target different customer demographics in the market.

Male and Female Body Image as Marketing Prerequisites in the 21st Century

Body image and its acceptance in the society in the 21st has become a norm and a generally utilized phenomenon by numerous marketing entities around the world. From small domestic items like cooking fat to intricate phenomena like cars and other machinery, sexuality has become a majorly commercialized item that is aimed at influencing the public's purchase decision-making process. Research published by Parker, Hatko, and Hermans (2008) can support this premise on the overreliance on sexuality by marketing companies in all their contemporary marketing needs.

Parker, Hatko, and Hermans (2008) research voiced its concern on the growing controversy pertaining to the awfully thin female models as well as the extensively muscular male models that are utilized in advertising and fashion campaigns. According to the research, although most consumers know that such body sizes are almost unattainable, in most cases, they tend to compare themselves with the idealized images when making purchases decisions (Parker, Hatko, and Hermans 55). Subsequently, this has often resulted in low customers satisfaction with their bodies accompanied by low self-esteem.

Research conducted by Parker, Hatko, and Hermans (2015) manifested that the use of extreme sexuality in the promotion efforts used by companies is not only a problem for Western nations. The research illustrated that Eastern nations that are easily influenced by the Western culture are the largely affected demographics by the use perceived perfection in corporate commercials that use sexuality-driven advertising tactics (Parker, Hatko, and Hermans 55). Specifically, the research found out that the Chinese culture is the most affected society with body image dissatisfaction due to misconstrued public advertisements affecting both men and women.


It is evident that attractive body image today has become a primary appealing factor to the public in various dimensions of their lives. For instance, some people perceive a sexy body image to be a medium of attraction to other people and a mode to attain acceptance by social peers in a person's life. In a different aspect, sexuality in body image is viewed as a method of securing a pre-desired goal or objective. For instance, a person can buy a weight-loss supplement with a goal to lose weight and gain more acceptance in a society that finds slim and athletic body sizes as desirable.

Nevertheless, the over-emphasis of body image as a key factor of advertising all products to the public in today's contemporary society poses a significant problem. First, all forms of commercials manifesting extremity in loss weight or muscular gain renders irrational customers in purchasing products to attain perfectionism and in the process cultivating feelings of self-unacceptance and overall dissatisfaction with their lives. For instance, a customer may use a product over and over again to achieve a pre-desired result, goal or objective without achieving it.

Second, over manifestation of sexuality in the advertisements made by almost all entities around the globe may lead to the development of undesirable social evils in the society. For instance, if the young generation is exposed to nude models advertising ESPN's products in the company's magazine Body Issue, they may accept sexuality as a regular facet of their lives. That is alongside behaviors such as promiscuity, which is closely linked to over manifestation of sexuality. Subsequently, such an outcome may breed the emergence of other problems such as the spread of sexually transmitted diseases - a major detriment to the economic progress of a nation.


Although body image is a key component of marketing campaigns in today's contemporary society, it should be moderated to mitigate its negative impact on society. Some of the effective recommendations that should be used are inclusive of censoring or banning of all forms of advertisements that showcase a heightened level of nudity on the models featured. Today, the improvement of the information, communication, and technology (ICT) systems have facilitated the ease of communication flow, especially among the young generation with smart technology devices (Sebina and Mazebe 104). Subsequently, the use of nudity content as a target-focused promotion strategy has a potential to cultivate social misconducts like promiscuity among the young generation.

Such inapt conducts can be prevented by ensuring that only the appropriate level of sexuality and other aspects of body image are utilized when marketing various products and services to the public. Appropriate sexuality standards in modeling as a profession should also be enacted to manage the level of indecent exposure that the young generation is subjected to in professional modeling events. Today, professional modeling has also become a major marketing tool where different companies support various modeling runway events and, in the process, advertise their products (Jafari and Sandikci 114). Although meant for a good purpose, models, especially female, with explicit dressing attires and extremely low body mass indexes should be prohibited from participating in public modeling events.

Subsequently, it will ensure that corporate clients do not utilize such professional events to advertise their range of products and services at an expense of the public morality depletion. Models with almost unattainable body mass index or those with extremely large muscles should also be discouraged from participating in today's modern promotion campaigns. That is because such body images cultivate feelings of dissatisfaction from the public or product consumers who make buying decisions with a core agenda for self-perfectionism (Healey 16). Lastly, all forms of magazines and published articles should be prohibited from using nude or almost fully undressed models in their sales promotion ventures.


In conclusion, today, body image has become a vital component of self-identity and marketing enforced by the media to achieve vast returns on corporate and domestic sales. Additionally, in...

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