Body Image and the media

                                                 Unrealistic images leading to unrealistic expectations 

When looking at a magazine or advert on television how do you feel ? When you see that perfect model advertising everyday items do you take notice of the items? Or do you feel intimidated of the “perfect” model you see before you? Over the past number of years the media have built up this unrealistic expectation of what the perfect body should be, we just the art of Photoshop and models or celebrities who appear to be more god than human to set this expectation of what everyday people should strive for. Thanks to hours of makeup and hair and the perfect clothing, the perfect lighting and filter images portrayed in the media today have lead to normal everyday people unable to meet this ridiculous expectation of “perfect” which in some cases leads to extreme consequences such as body dismorphia, anorexia nervosa and botched plastic surgery.

“Print advertisements can reveal a great deal about deal about the effective dimensions of individuals’ choices and beliefs” (Grady, 2007). This is true in the case of predicting unrealistic body image. From girls getting surgery to look like Kim Kardashian or starve themselves to look like Victoria Secrets angels. They tutors themselves by following extensive exercise and diet plans all to look like an image that has been photo shopped to a point where you would not recognize the person if you were to meet them face to face.
The Psychiatric times said that “social critics have long blamed the fashion industries use of such models for inspiring teenagers and hound women to engage in extreme dieting” (2008). An example of this statement is the 2014 Victoria Secret Ad Campaign for their new bra. The campaign showed Victoria Secret Models posing in their underwear which the caption “The Perfect Body”. This campaign came under fire saying that it was playing on the insecurities of women who did not fit the idea of the perfect body. It “sends out a damaging message by posting the words ‘The Perfect Body’ across models who have exactly the same very slim body type” (Ciambriello, 2024). This campaign “fails to celebrate the amazing diversity of women’s bodies” (Ciambriello, 2014). This campaign highlight the ridiculousness of how the media just one form of beauty and paint it as so if a person does not meet the criteria how what the media considered beautiful then they are not beautiful.


(Ciambriello, 2014)

Over the years the idea of what is considered beautiful has changed. From the 1950s when being curvy and big was what was considered beautiful. Instead of being diverse and saying that every woman is unique and beautiful in their own way the media constantly pick an idea an idea of beautiful manipulate, Photoshop and mold into what they are looking for and flaunt it in the public eye telling them “this is what you have too look like to be beautiful” leading people to having unrealistic expectations that are never to be met.

(Sun, 2014)

Ciambriello, R., (2014), “Real Beauty? Nah Victoria Secret would rather celebrate the ‘Perfect Body’. Brands play on words comes off as tone deaf.”, “Adweek”, 30th October 2014, available at:, [ Accessed on 20th October 2015]
Grady, J., (2007), “Advertising images as social indicators: depictions of black in LIFE magazine 1936- 2000”, “Visual Studies”, 22:3, pg. 211- 239
The Psychiatric Times, (2008), “Why do girls starve themselves: new research in Anorexia Nervosa references”, “Psychiatric Times”, Available at:, [Accessed on 20th October 2015]
Sun, V., (2014), “Photos: 20 more celebrities before and after photoshop”, available at:, [Accessed on 20th October 2015]


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