Body Image and Women in Popular Culture

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Body Image and Women in Popular Culture

Sydney Delgado, Staff Writer

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Society sets a certain stereotype for a women’s behavior and looks. A quote from an article posted on ‘Planned Parenthood’ reads, “Gender roles in society means how we’re expected to act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct ourselves based upon our assigned gender. For example, girls and women are expected to be passive, quiet and less opinionated and men should be aggressive and the decision makers.” This stereotype is shown everywhere in the press. From advertising, to movies and TV shows, and even music.

In movies and TV shows there’s a certain stereotype displayed in movies. There’s different stereotypes for girls like the pretty popular ones and the nerdy girls that don’t get much attention since they don’t stand out and can even be overshadowed in a film.

For women who identify with a different sexual orientation and dress or strive to look more masculine are looked down upon just because they don’t fit what society considers to be a woman. Women that don’t look appealing to the media are judged with comments like, “She isn’t pretty enough.” “Why is she famous? She has no talent.” “She isn’t smart, why does she have big goals?” Those kind of comments are used to describe what a woman since women are taken less seriously compared to men, since men seem to be dominant than women. 

In the media and even in real life, girls and women everyday are criticized for their looks, talents, work ethic, and much more. These things can bring a girl or woman’s self esteem to an all time low.

Seventh grader Sirena Rodriguez responds to this by saying, “For me as a girl, I don’t try to follow society’s norms, I try to be myself and don’t believe in following people’s stereotype for women. I may not dress the way girls are expected to dress or act the way they are expected to act because I am myself. I don’t believe in norms.”

Self image is also something pressured against women. With models in the media being tall and thin, women often compare themselves to these models and develop eating disorders to try and look like them. When girls (especially teenage girls) see how society portrays a woman’s image, it can harm their self esteem and can cause damage to their mental and physical health. Over 13 million women in the U.S. develop eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. It is said that women are two times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men. Reasons being that women suffering from self esteem, body image, appearance, bullying from the topics shown before, and trauma at home. 

Women are often body shamed in the media. A piece of text from an article posted on a health website reads, “There’s a size range for women that the public has deemed acceptable, and anything over or under that range is open for public shaming.” As mentioned before, weight and appearance is something that is pressured against women in the media. The female body image and what a person should become or look like in marketing and advertising is an immense issue in the media. As humans, we all have goals despite our genders to look a certain way to appeal others.

In society, women are pressured to fit society’s image on them and if they don’t then they are judged. One example is in K-Pop, where a woman’s body image and appearance is taken to the next level. Some female idols and actors admitted to eating what they could fit in small paper cups or simply not eating at all. In 2014, a modern K-Pop idol by the name of IU had been diagnosed with Bulimia due to her massive intake of food only to throw it all up so she could lose some weight.

IU is one of many female K-Pop idols to be diagnosed with some kind of eating disorder to look skinny to the public. Her condition was serious in 2014, but as of now she is doing much healthier then she had before.

“My heart was empty. I always felt anxious after I made my debut and from a certain time, I filled the void through food,” said IU. “Rather than feeling good, I always had that feeling of anxiety thinking there’s still something lacking. At that time, I ate until I threw up and I even sought treatment.” 

Overall, in society we tend to overlook things or even see the little things we consider to be “normal” as right. People’s opinions and thoughts have little value on us as a society since everyone is not meant to be the way people expect us to be, we should all strive to be ourselves.