Beauty is a Beast
Every day the beauty industry and media tell women and girls that being admired, envied, and desired based on their looks is a primary function of true womanhood. They provide them with a beauty template that is narrow, unrealistic, and most importantly ingrained into their brains leaving any woman who does not fit this template feeling inadequate. The Love Your Body campaign challenges the message that a woman’s value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.
Click through the gallery to see some of the most shocking ways the industry manipulates women.
For decades, the media has been telling women and girls they aren’t good enough. Too fat, too thin, too hairy, too dark, too plain. Though the “ideal” look has changed over the years, the definition of beauty has always been narrow. But why do advertisers want us to believe our bodies are wrong?
Because it is profitable.
In 2010, Vogue magazine came under fire for printing this ad featuring 10-year-old model Thylane Blondeau. Her exaggerated makeup, mature outfit, and provocative pose seem to sexualize the child, and many readers were offended. Since the controversy, advertisers have been more thoughtful in their portrayal of children, but society remains obsessed with little girls and their beauty.
British tabloid "Heat" is one of the worst offenders when it comes to judging women's bodies to sell magazines. Every week, these tabloids publish candid photos showing the "worst" angles of celebrities who are expected to have perfect physiques. These types of articles are not only hurtful to those pictured, but they are also damaging to readers who may already have a poor body image.
It seems every generation of women brings with it a new ideal body type. The "heroin chic" of the 1990s has been replaced by impossible hourglass figures combined with rare features such as thigh gaps. It is now common for teens and young women to fake a thigh gap when posing for photos. Specific body features like curves and thigh gaps are a product of certain skeletal builds and other (mostly genetic) factors, making them unrealistic goals that cannot be attained in the gym.
Even the youngest in society feel the pressure to look a certain way. Barbie has been a pervasive figure of girlhood for decades, but studies show her body, while plastic, can have a negative effect on girls' self-image. If Barbie were a real woman, she would stand 5 feet 9 inches tall, but weigh only 120 pounds. Her body fat percentage would be so low, she could not menstruate. Her waist circumference would be about half the national average. These comparisons are having a real, negative impact on girls: one study found that about half of women aged 18 to 25 would rather be run over by a truck than be overweight.