Ideal Image of Women: How Media Has Impacted Society - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1728 Words
Date:  2022-12-28


Over the years, the ideal image of a woman in society has been subjected to drastic changes as a result of the powerful persuasion of the media industry. The image of women has transformed from curvaceous ideal shape to 1990's Kate Moss type as portrayed by the media, which has greatly affected teenagers as they try to achieve the current image (Byerly & Ross, 2008). The female portrayal on big screens through celebrities and advertisements has influenced the manner in which women behave, act or appear in society. Majority of young girls struggle to emulate different fashions or lifestyles of women as displayed by the media, these practices end up exposing teenagers to mental and physical health problems without their consent. Throughout history, an ideal image of a woman in the society is characterized by certain appearance to be accepted, they include, voluptuous size, narrow-waisted physique, and tall.

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Interdisciplinary research reveal that the media play significant roles in shaping the expectations, needs and wants of the young girls in the society. The media influence behaviour and attitude, and the consistent repetition of themes that portray women in unrealistic ways can promote their subordinate roles in society. The institutions of mass communication help in reflecting the dominant values of society. As a result, they can create a powerful link that promotes the chain of socialization among the women to keep them dependent. The media portray women based on false perception as creative actors, and independent causing young girls to lose self-worth and feelings of acceptance in the society (Galician, 2004).

People learn basic aspects of social life from the media, which influences the way they behave, act or appear in society under different situations. According to Thornham, the media industry has replaced parish and cathedral churches as teachers of the general public as well as teenagers in the society (Thornham, 2007). What the media directs remain the dominant practice and value for every young girl. Teenagers rely heavily on the media to emulate things that can change their lifestyles and make them beautiful as they put it. The media has taken this advantage to misguide the image of women in society, which actually cause serious mental and physical health problems to the young girls. In today's world, social status is never taken as an important consideration in defining a woman. Instead, the ideal image of women reflects the past days of female stereotypes. The media has contributed to the unrealistic definition of beauty standards, women with rail-thin body shape are portrayed as beautiful.

Young girls cannot feel comfortable interacting with others without applying make-ups or and cosmetic products to build self-confidence. The image displayed by the media in defining the ideal sense of beauty among women expose teenagers to unnecessary pressure trying to fake their appearance in order to please the social environment. This because the women who appear on the screen to have it all to attract the viewers. The female stereotype and unrealistic setting of beauty standards have contributed to untold sufferings among teenagers. Young girls find themselves in stressful situations because of comparing themselves to beautiful stars and celebrities in the media. They hardly accept themselves, they would prefer doing anything possible to improve their degree of beauty in order to be accepted in society as women. This eventually induces physical and mental health problems in young girls (Strasburger Jordan & Donnerstein, 2010).

The modern society relies on media for various aspects that influence human life. Media plays a significant role in setting moral standards for society as well as showing how individuals, especially women need to act or appear. The media through films, newspapers, television programs, comic books, advertisements, magazines, video games, and popular music sets unrealistic standards for women (Halliwell, 2013). However, these unrealistic depictions of how women must act or behave, and the picture that they should have so that the society accepts are immensely influencing the general societal views as well as the dignity of women across the world. The most affected population comprise of teenagers or young girls who end up admiring to look like those women portrayed in different forms of media. Many cases have been reported where young girls go for expensive cosmetic products to increase their level of beauty and appear like celebrities on media, however, some have become victims of the practice because some products fail to work and instead cause health problems to them.

Different media platforms grossly misinterpret women. For instance, women are often depicted carrying out domestic chores in homes, serving as a primary source of pleasure for men; as people who cannot protect themselves, instead, rely on men for everything. It is rare for the media to display women serving significant roles, this is witnessed in television and movies shows. In the event where women are assigned leading roles in media, they are cast as heroin and this implies that common roles that can be played by men, turn to be a measure of heroism when women do them (Quigg & Want, 2011). This unrealistic display of women sends a negative image to young girls growing up to become responsible women. When teenagers watch such shows or movies portraying women as weak creatures, they usually get discouraged from working hard. They grow up with the mentality that women are only supposed to perform house chores, submit to men, and serve as sex objects. The teenagers would believe that women cannot play any significant role in society, and this lowers their self-esteem as female genders. Most teenagers would be tempted to give up in life by dropping out of school because they believe they women have no significant positions in society.

According to Berberick (2010), only 16% of women are given a chance to feature in films as protagonists and represent less than a third of the speaking characters (Berberick, 2010). For instance, recent studies reveal that for every one female character in a movie or television shows, there are three men. This is a shred of clear evidence that the media denies women adequate positive roles. As much as the media is serving its core purpose of entertainment and educating the public or viewers, it portrays the unrealistic image of women that they cannot do something in the absence of men. The media demonstrates that any time a woman is serving a specific role, she should be surrounded by men in order to succeed. This unrealistic imagery for women sends a bad show to the young girls aspiring to be actress or role models to other girls in the future. When the watch or listen to such programs, they are likely to lose hopes of becoming an actress because it would be seen as if the whole things is meant for men. Young girls would love to see many women being assigned a leading role in the television shows and movies as well as in other forms of media to feel motivated and proud of their gender. It is absurd that this not considered in the media and many teenagers grow up believing that women are fragile and weak. Limiting the roles of women in media content is dangerous to the people, especially young girls because the media is perceived to be one of the most influential aspects of society (Quigg & Want, 2011). It is shocking that even advertisements for cleaning products portray a woman cleaning up after the husband and children. This created a feature of the media brands women negatively, which causes bad effects to the teenagers.

Even though the concept of patriarchy as well as women being branded as weak and fragile creatures is no longer applicable in real life, the media proceeds to display the female gender in this manner. As a result, it continues to send an inappropriate image of how society should view women, leading to a bad perception for young girls. Unrealistic portray f women in media not only force women to appear in certain ways but also pressurizes them to play specific roles in society. Teenagers grow up believing that as women, they should have perfect skin, have a small waist, tall, sexy and be buxom among others. Young girls growing up with such beliefs may be tempted to engage in dangerous practices which are likely to cause harm or health problems to them while searching for beauty to be accepted in the society (Strasburger, Jordan & Donnerstein, 2010). Many have ended up developing abnormal body shapes because of the side effects of beauty products offered in the market. In some cases, teenagers would force their parents to purchase for them expensive cosmetic products and if they fail to buy for them, they develop hatred towards them which eventually leads to family conflicts. When the media continues to display women using unrealistic images as a way of promoting their beauty, it makes young girls put pressure on their parents to buy for them cosmetic products in order to make them look prettier so that they are also accepted in the society.

Magazines and newspapers use images of women with immense beauty features, and usually, contain information regarding overhauling a woman's physical appearance. When teenagers access this content on media, it changes the way they look at themselves. Some of them would start to be worried about their appearance and search for ways to improve how they look. This is likely to affect their social life, for instance, they would start to think that their looks are everything that pleases male. As a result, they decide to hide their imperfection and modify their bodies to look sexy. Excessive worry about one's physical appearance triggers stress and this can result in mental disorders. The media tries to illustrate that women cannot be naturally beautiful, instead, they need to use supplementary products or effects to make them appear sexy. Young girls have been dragged by the media to become the immediate victims of the unrealistic display of women (Strasburger, Jordan & Donnerstein, 2010).

A clear focus on the media unrealistic portray for women would reveal the immense impacts that it has on society. The media attempts to reveal that women or female gender are weak and are unable to achieve anything successfully without being helped or supported by men. This has led to continued suffering and mistreatment of women in the workplace as well as other social situations because it has changed the manner in which the societ...

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