Why false beauty standards in media are dangerous for you
Every day we are exposed to hundreds of advertisements,through traditional media and online social media. While many of these media portray slim,tonned bodied,attractive women as ideally beautiful women ,they portray ideally attractive men as muscular,wealthy and prestigious.There are different aspects through which media portray these ideals.For example why a fat or obese women is portrayed as a funny - dumb women always eating and not being sexually attractive,just a supporting character while the main stream actress is perfectly slim with spotless and white skin in the cinema particularly Indian cinema.The very notion of absence of representation of all type of body structures and dominant portrayal of say ,a woman with flat stomach and significant size of bust and hips and men with muscular body with abs showing to be attractive ; makes these portrayal ideals and have a psychological impact on the mind of people who then think there is something wrong with their bodies and try to attain that ideal to be more popular, attractive or more acceptable.
Ideal Women in Advertisements, television, and music, cinema are portrayed as tall, white, with perfectly groomed hair ,flat stomachs, plump breasts, impossibly long legs and perky, perfectly rounded butts.Thousands of Instagram accounts promote notion that ‘beauty equals white’ has been so deeply pervasive in the society that it has powerfully coursed over racial lines to also become an issue of ‘colourism’ of preference for lighter skin tones within people’s own racial grouping. Therefore, it is evident why majority of Indian families still urge their younger generation to match up with light-skinned spouses or prefer light skin girls to have “beautiful “ younger generations. The advertisements of one of the skin-whitening creams in India, Fair n Lovely has been widely criticised of portraying “toxic” skin colour standards.The representation of dark skinned women being unconfident about self and being rejected in interviews and thus using whitening creams to become successful and confident has made the unrealistic standards completely normal and sense of desire to achieve the same.Hence,the current markets for skin lightening products in Africa and Asia are multi-billion-dollar strong and growing; clear evidence that the practice is widespread and ever increasing.Through these endless marketing and advertising campaigns we are brainwashed to believe that to keep trying to attain a standard of this ideal beauty (which is impossible for most )is somehow more admirable and valiant than accepting your appearance as just one, unique and rooting your self-love firmly in your personality.
Similarly, the portrayal of ideal attractive male to be muscular,manly , attractive ,surrounding a lot of females in different commercial gives the social the false ideal to be followed. The “manliness “ and masculinity to be seen in a man makes the males think there is something wrong with them or they are not “manly “enough. Teenagers too are exposed to hundreds of media texts also ,but one of the main cause of low self esteem issues is social media.Teenage boys and girls are more exposed to body image issues and anxiety.Many teens want to look attractive and popular,they want validation from their peers and social media is a quick way for them to gain feedback. A teen posts a selfie on Instagram by spending hours trying to capture it at just the right angle with perfect lighting or using filters to hide marks,scars,acne.Young boys try to immitate models to look more fit and tall.Their appearance is based on how many likes their latest Facebook or Instagram photo receives. This immediate, peer-to-peer feedback can be addictive for those whose self-esteem depends on social media affirmations,which is unfortunately have become very common.Thus these social influences can be very powerful and that is why a lot of people have agreed to have experienced some kind of discomfort,distress or anxiety whenever there is some criticising comments or less likes on their pictures.This is why Cyberbullying has proven to be quite damaging.
A recent study conducted by United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and Young Health Movement (YHM) found that Instagram is the worst among the major social platforms when it comes to depression, anxiety, body image, and loneliness.RSPH and YHM surveyed around 1,500 UK citizens aged 14 to 24 in early 2017. Many of the participants agreed to have edited their pictures or used filters inorder to make their look “perfect” or according to what was trending or to immitate their favourite bloggers or “Instgram celebrities “.They may spend thousands on beauty products or surgeries to achieve their most perfect look.
However,a lot of progressive can be seen in advertisements which shatters the traditional use of marketing of the product and infact,the advertisements call for self-love and breakdown of these standards and have been progressive in talking about inclusivity of “all complexions” and people from all races in the art.inspite of the constant discussions about what is real and what is unreal beauty, a lot of people want to achieve the idealistic standard inspite of knowing it is not real.
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