The Essence Of Subjective Body Image
Body image definition:
Body image in simplest terms is broken down between two elements: the mental image and the physical image. The two often get intertwined, and contorted into an essence of subjective self-persona that influences how each human being is placed into society. It is human nature to be subjective towards your own body image, therefore having your mind be at odds with what is observed on the outside.
Subjectivity Throughout The Decades:
11900’s- The Curvy Gibson Girl
In the early 1900s curves and soft lines of a woman’s body was considered most beautiful. The realness and honest beauty of a natural human body was the latest trend. Women with more weight on their bodies were celebrated at the highest degree.
In later years came corsets.
21920s – The Flapper
In the 1920s women became more free spirited and dressed far more casual. The Flapper ideal represented a skinnier young and immature and even a boyish body.
This new breed of free and independent flat chest beauty and thinness ideals image represented a rejection of the Victorian style but came to an end with the Great Depression.
31930s – 1940s
In the 1930s-1940s women tried to prevent their bodies from becoming too skinny by adding shape and tightness to clothing. Since this was the period of the Great Depression, women were unnaturally skinny therefore unable to compete with society’s standards. Perfection at this time was based on remaining feminine and ladylike, so this meant time and effort spent of the average outfit, and long skirts to hide the shameful body shape of most Americans.
1950s the women’s ideal became highly exaggerated and more detailed. Women used famous movie stars as muses for their own personal appearance, and constantly compared themselves. Audrey Hepburn, Sophie Loren represented the ideal, and made many very insecure.
Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly are another example of the ideal body image of that era of a fuller, hourglass shape and bustier look, in celebration of the end of the war. These insecurities however then lead to another dark era, of depression and desperation.
Then came a known period in time where the term “Housewives syndrome” started. Women at this time seemed clueless, and very often just stayed at home and cooked for the family. This imposes on Sigmund Freud’s famous questions: “What does a woman want?”
This same era was also commonly known for the true beginning of mental illnesses in everyday women. This includes the common use of drugs and pills to fill the sense of emptiness that housewives would feel. The idea to have the perfect life, house and marriage drove a high number of these women insane, and killed their self-esteem.
The Most Infamous Example: Ideal Body Image and The Media
A women’s independence has positively grown over the years, but still only 3% of supervising positions in mainstream media are females. Seeing the unattainable media perfected model instantly makes a woman feel negative. 83% of teenage girls reported reading fashion magazines for about 4.3 hours a week. This reading leads to comparing, which triggers fitness, grooming, and style trends.
Large companies then keep up with these trends and produce products that make normal everyday people think they can become “perfect.” Even large industrial companies that make millions of dollars objectify women, and use sex to sell. This has been common for as long as mass media goes back, but still the images used to sell sex to the media have only become more provocative. Beer, food, drinks and lots of other products that people use everyday are commonly advertised with a sexual input of some kind. Ads and images are the most crucial when it comes to objectifying women or men in a sexual matter.
Kenneth Burke did a famous study on how people will likely miss the mark with mass medias marketing strategies and found that humanity was “Rotten with Perfection.” Cosmetics have gone as far as teenage girls wishing for plastic surgery for presents for high school graduation. A high amount teenage girls desire having a new nose, or breast implants before they even turn 18. With all the different surgery and commercial effort to redefine the human body, one can truly have the perfect body.
These surgeries are legal, but it still creates a controversy on how much modifications is too much. Some will argue many cases of plastic surgeries that should not have been legal. Society leads women to believe that money can buy their desired perfection, when it realistically causes them more health problems. The desperation to become perfect becomes a mindset, and motivates a lot of women to pay for such extreme procedures. Despite all the controversy and statistics about these hallow beauty products, most of the population chooses to ignore the facts and continue to feed the beauty industry.
What is considered normal and expected by the average person is still arguably unrealistic. Every person would rather watch a skinny attractive female on TV, rather a natural average one.
Society is blinded by all the fake standards and expectations that most of the time people don’t even realize just how high their standards are. Advertising companies love image, and will constantly educe the “perfect person” on every single product that they can. This would be considered a mental illness, because of just how blinded people are from natural beauty. It is almost more rare to see a natural looking woman in a popular magazine, rather an unhealthy starving model.
A Hollywood star, male or female, who has had cosmetic surgery, is a cultural being, and that is what seduces us.
So society in general has a depicted mind about how people should look. Sometimes the mental state of needing to be “perfect” takes a bigger effect, and causes more severe outcomes. When these mental illnesses are broken down, the root of the problem is usually the person not feeling good enough. It is no surprise to anyone that society’s standards are incredibly unreachable, yet mental illnesses are still so common.
Women are so used to being judged and sexually objectified by society that it almost isn’t a surprise to see society so corrupt with perfection. Men also grow up to conditionally judge the real everyday woman, and not even realize it.
Social Media is another infamous factor is the destruction of a persons body image. Instagram is a notoriously narcissistic, and people commonly are judging beauty and being rewarded for being sexually appealing.
Social media is taking over, and it’s only making the obsession with looking perfect even more unattainable. It’s one thing to be constantly worrying about how to impress people in person, but now that the appearance of one’s online profile is so relevant it really is no surprise to see the desperation in young people.
How to fit in and be accepted online or in person is so relevant in modern day society. Being the outcast was never accepted, and is constantly conceived as a negative trait. Movies and TV shows notoriously show the outcast as the unpopular character, and this negativity rubs off on the audience. Stereotypes are then made, and the idea of judging someone on how they look is again very present. Social media has really only made the issue worse, and revolves around constant objectifying to people. Merely every industry objectifies something, some more common than others yet the message that is constantly created usually involves a negative trait about a person.
It is hard to tell if the everyday woman will ever be good enough for today’s society. Just by looking at the past where being really skinny was once considered unappealing, and now it is the latest trend makes it very unclear if anyone will really ever achieve society’s “perfection.”
The prolonged quest for American Beauty is very expensive. The media is prone to say that natural hair, body and skin just isn’t good enough. The beauty industry has so many different products to help upgrade your appearance in modern day. This includes products women use everyday like make-up to the extremes like fake eyelashes. Self-tanning and tanning machines impacted women greatly; despite its ability to give you skin cancer.
Mental Illness: Just As Important As PHYSICAL Illness
Being a teenage girl seems to be the saddest thing in the world. We can’t even say we are feeling sad without being called a drama queen or an attention seeker Sadness is hard to talk about, but statistics show that everyone feels it. Coping mechanisms seem to dwindle with fitting into the normality. No one wants to admit their illness because it defers them from everyone else. Nothing feels worse than being told that you and you’re problems are both not good enough. It’s bad enough young females struggle so much to be accepted physically, but psychologically teenage girls are forced to persevere through the darkest times- because the pain is so misunderstood.
Pain shouldn’t be put on a podium. Living two lives is set up for mass destruction, and society is too advanced to allow people to suffer from something so curable so silently. We are all born differently, so it makes no sense to be expected to constantly feel the same. Those who are suffering DO NOT do not want to be told to get over it, nor do they want to be belittled. Telling someone with a mental illness to move on or stop being sad is so stupid it’s merely ironic. The main reason our society can’t love and accept each other is because we don’t love and accept ourselves. We really don’t consider each other’s feelings, nor try to understand why it is a beautiful, smart; well dressed thirteen year old could be so depressed.