Does beauty standard affect and harm human body

A woman who constantly compares herself with the way the girls from magazine covers look don’t work for raising her self-esteem, and on the contrary, decreases it; in its turn, it has been known for decades that high self-esteem defines good attitude towards oneself, and as a result, self-confidence, satisfaction with oneself, and ultimately, the impression which a woman makes on surrounding people. Maybe it would be beneficial to find other samples for comparison, which would serve as the means of supporting the benefits of the natural real appearance of majority of women? I think about that because I had the same problem and was about to shatter the mirror like in Kate Rositter’s writing as my own parameters did not satisfy models’ standards.

Eating disorders are often caused in the modern society by a perverted representation of beauty on media. Very often girls are experiencing deviant behavior and are subjected to serious health impacts and impairments.  The National Institute on Media and Family provides data, which underline the subjection of women and girls to the influence of media and its negative impact on female health.  In accordance with statistics, 40 percent of 9 and 10 year old girls wanted to lose weight. On the example of my personal experience, I can claim that it is a relevant feature of the modern society, when girls want to lose weight.  I intended to lose weight at the age of 14 and in such a way I lost 26 pounds. I had one meal a day and I wanted to dig up my throat to throw up. I hated my fat body and I felt different from other normal people, because I felt as an overweight person.

A slim ideal body has been always interesting for me and I was sure that the girls after 17 years old are considered to become thinner.  90% of people, who torture themselves with eating disorders, are women. Media exerts a negative and destroying influence on the modern society. It is possible to appeal for statistics published on the modern websites, which confirms results of different researches and studies.

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Media awareness network informs people about potential hazards for their health. It can be seen that a negative attitude is presented on the web. This study highlights the way images of thin women are reflected in the magazines.  The American research group Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. supplies this network with reliable data and exact statistics on the matter.  The reasonable link between eating disorders and beauty can be explained in the following way: “exposure to images of thin, young, air-brushed female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women and girls” (the American research group Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc). Printed media promote images of beauty too. From one of the articles, published in the Daily Telegraph, it is evident that:  “Researchers report that women’s magazines have ten and one-half times more ads and articles promoting weight loss than men’s magazines do” (The Daily Telegraph).

We can see the models that are naked and scaring. Strasburger claims about a destroying power of dieting in the book “Children, Adolescents & the Media” (2002). There is a broad overview, presented in the book, and the way the young women are affected by the media.

Carney Tara writes about drastic consequences of anorexia in “Eating disordered behaviors and media exposure” in the journal Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology (Dec. 2006). It is a well-known fact that the eating disorders are really scaring and health of modern young women can be in danger. Consequently, malnutrition leads to health hazards and even to childlessness. Health news and the article “What makes people read magazines with ideal bodies” (March 16, 2011) outlines that people are fond of reading magazines and they are striving for ideal bodies.  The skinny images are very popular and modern women want to look like those advertised images. They are fond of plastic surgery; they are mainly focused on different pills for dieting. They are looking for modern innovative ways of losing weight.

Weight loss is the problem, which has been created artificially. If a person feels comfortable in his (her) own body, it means that everything is normal. The person should build his/her life based on what nature has given him/her. If the process of weight loss is not going in its natural way, it means that this is the nature of this person and this shape should and can be used in the most beneficial way. The number of fat people is less than the number of people with standard forms. If a woman is very much different from others, it means she is unique and she may gain additional benefits or even popularity based on this uniqueness. It is not a secret, that sexual problems of women are often connected with their weight as well as with their low self-esteem. A fat man rarely thinks that being fat can push his sexual partner away; the principal thing for him is that he gets satisfaction of sex himself, and who should suffer in this case is the woman who goes to bed with him. What is interesting is that fat men prefer to have slim women as their partners; some of them seek a partner with ‘perfect shape’. However, there are many men who also suppose that the stouter woman is, the more beautiful she is (The Elastic Body Image: The Effect of Television Advertising and Programming on Body Image Distortions in Young Women).  

I studied my problem in literature. Here is one of the articles found in the British press: ‘The British Government fights against slim women. 6 million of English women at the age of 16 to 35 consciously stop eating and are starving, irreversibly damaging their health. The most terrible thing is that in 1999 for 18 thousand of women this starving has finished by death’. The legislators have decided that advertisement is not only the pushing factor in trade but it is also a hurting factor for the health of the whole nation. The advertisement on TV will be shown in the way that the episodes with slim women will be interchanged by the episodes with stouter ones. Not only slimness of women is high on the agenda, but also attractive butts, big eyes, rosy cheeks with high cheekbones, thin face features etc. In this respect, not only malnutrition and anorexia can occur, but also clinical surgery can be chosen by modern women as the only one possible way to reach their ideal appearance.

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Men and women understand their weight in a different way: almost half of the stout men think their weight is within the limits of the norm, and they don’t have complexes, as compared to women, since they suppose themselves to be enough attractive for women. Many men with extra weight are considered even more attractive if they have the so-called ‘belly’, which creates the vision of a man being an authority person in some countries; although this opinion can also be argumentative. Women only have to reconcile with such ‘sexuality’ and to adjust their needs not only in the daily life, but in the sexual way as well. Women, in distinction from men, have the tendency to re-evaluate their weight, which means that their weight plays too important part in their lives. However, even with some extra pounds, women are able to lead a full life and to have pleasurable sexual life as well, and enjoy it. Some sexologists suppose that stout women cannot be passionate in bed; in reality, stout women are characterized by the higher production of endorphin in their organism, which increases their libido. If men are not really concerned with the problems of extra weight, the question arises why women see the problem of their extra weight and why it prevents them from leading normal life? The answer is in their inner attitudes towards themselves, their absence of love towards their own body! (The Effect of Experimental Presentation of Thin Media Images on Body Satisfaction: A Meta-Analytic Review)

Stout women don’t take their bodies as the instrument of sexual pleasure; this is why their behavior in bed is far from being relaxed. The problem is here in the way the problem is out – stout women become fashionable… but is it the question of fashion when women kill their health with terrible diets? (The Beauty Myth) The magic of the 90-60-90 numbers is no more in the minds and souls of the world famous designers. What has happened? Is it that fashion has come down to be interested in fat and stout women? It should be noted that with the growing number of stout people in the US and European countries, designers understand that the demand for clothes for stout people will grow and thus re-orient their designer work to other more profitable areas. The attitude towards stout women in fashion started to change for the better, though there will be no real change in the beauty standards in the nearest future. The standards won’t be replaced, but the very notion of the standard will shift. Any woman can look beautiful no matter what her weight is, and understanding the potential, hidden in stout women, it is possible to give them some recommendations, taking into account the pressure which they experience every day. It is possible to stay self-confident and not to get under the influence of standards, which are promoted by media, moreover, it is essential not to express the dissatisfaction with one’s appearance openly; this will only make the level of self-esteem lower. It is important not to be afraid of one’s body, and many stout women hide their bodies and prefer not to go to public places like beaches, etc… It is clear that body is an integral part of one’s personality; however it does not mean that women should not look after their bodies… Female body should be cared for in the reasonable limits, to increase its attractive sides and to hide the deficiencies (The Beauty Myth).            

Social stereotypes have become a real problem at present; the brightest example of beauty, which many people would like to follow, in Ancient Greece was Venus of Melos, and she can be hardly called slim. The East has always been known for praising stout women and supposing them to be the most beautiful and fashionable. Eastern girls never die of starving as a result of the exhausting diets. Slim women were popular in the Middle Ages, because Christian doctrine was fanatically imposing ascetic way of life. Renaissance turned the weights into the opposite side, and material human values returned into the life of people, meaning prevalence of women who cannot be called slim. It is enough to look at Rubens paintings in order to understand how the beauty was interpreted at that time. At the beginning of the 19th century and until its middle, beautiful stout female body and white face color witnessed wealth, affluence, and a sophisticated way of life. The average weight of the beauty symbols at that time was about 53 kg, while the modern model will not weight more than 46 kg. Why are the Internet and TV today filled with the slim women with large breasts? The answer is very simple – money. Through the use of such images the buyers of information are pushed towards purchasing goods and services. The market structure has pushed the idea of the object of beauty to the background, and woman as this subject is not evaluated through the traditional means, but is rather viewed as the object of profitability. Sexuality of Barbie is the instrument of earning additional money.

Ann Wineteuer,  an editor of the popular Oprah show, does not like fat people. The show is filled with beautiful ladies, who are approved by the majority of the beauty industry specialists. Fleshiness is the state, which may last all life, and as a consequence, requires sufficient expenses. The ideologists of implementing the image of slim woman are not confused by the fact that only 2% of women can be really supposed to be models, in accordance with the propagated beauty standards. The rest 98% after having looked through these standards and with being imposed to these standards, feel dissatisfied and thus advertisers increase the sales of their products.

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I learned that 68% of women in the USA wear large size clothes. The size which was the most popular in 1985 was much smaller. The number of stout women in other countries is not as large as in the US, but it keeps growing. Linsey Glass, President of the, is devoted to the fashion for stout women and she states: 'It is a really seducing revolution. Big women have finally admitted that they can be beautiful' (Size Society is gradually rejecting the stereotypes imposed since the middle of the 1980s, and model business displays the models with big sizes more often. The first public claim in terms of fashion for stout women was noted in Paris four years ago. The Paris fashion week presented a show with stout women as models. Among those were 18-year beauties with great shapes and real ladies, weighing 100 kg and more. They were showing not the collection of big size clothes, but, on the contrary, clothes which are supposed to be standard. One American expert who was creating a social portrait, admitted that as far as the majority of American women are stout, it implies that majority of men finds them sexually attractive. Everything works according to the laws of nature, and the society strives not to the artificial business standards but to the natural beauty. Stout women are now shown on the magazine covers, even of the most fashionable magazine of all times – Vogue. The attitudes towards stout women in the world and in fashion notably changes to the better. The US is boomed by the large amount of advertising with participation of the 'real man' (this way they use to call those who do not possess perfect model shapes). Thus, this is not the attack of stout women, but it is the transition from propagating the model samples to the search of the new beauty, which is different for everyone. Everyone has the right to choose what he/she likes the most, even in beauty.

I think that modern times have displayed positive transition away from the traditional standards. The positive side of this step is that every woman has the right to feel beautiful without being imposed to certain business standards, which bring her psychological discomfort. History has known many women who cannot boast being models but who have been the examples of beauty for ages. It is clear, that time requires serious re-consideration of the beauty standards and their change will ultimately bring benefits for both the society and the advertisers. It is better to find beauty in oneself and not to strive for perverted media images of beauty. Modern standards of beauty are rather ambiguous and too harsh, because they make women accept them as they are and underline their imperfect and subjective role in the modern society.

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