Monday, December 9, 2013

The Media and Women

As you can see, this blog post won't contain an actual picture, but rather a video. More specifically, a short video that demonstrates the way that Photoshop distorts the image of women in our media. Give it a look:

We are living in an era where every single flaw in a photograph or a video can be erased by Photoshop, which has created an unrealistic expectation of what beauty and perfection entail. Girls in the third grade have started wearing makeup, and eating disorders are rampant. Despite the numerous campaigns that attempt to show this distortion to the public and encourage young women to feel beautiful (such as Idea 9 and the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty), the warped female image can be seen all over commercials, billboards and magazines. The media and its control over what constitutes perfection has had enormous effects on our culture.

One such effect was brought up recently by a female news anchor who was called fat in an email by a viewer. She described that adults like this man are perpetually worsening and spreading this problem to the next generation. When one believes in the unreal images that the media feeds us and rejects anything different by calling someone fat or ugly, the younger generation watches and learns, and in turn, they spread the rejection of those who do not fit the media's false image. There seems to be no way out of this trap other than leading by example. If we reject these fake images, bringing their effects to light through proposals like Idea 9, and promote the appreciation of real beauty through campaigns like the Dove Campaign, then perhaps we can change things for the next generation.

As the news anchor describes in her video (link above), no one can know anything about her just by seeing her image on a TV screen. The fact that a man passed judgement on her as a person just because of her weight is unsettling, and attacks like this based solely on image must be fought against. There does, however, seem to be a movement towards the support of real beauty, as told by the news anchor through the amount of support that she has received since discussing the contents of the email. This is a movement that must be continued, and it must focus on looking past an image. We must shake the media's control of how we view and judge other human beings.

Video source:


  1. Hey Hannah! I'm so glad you decided to talk about this photo shop video. I'd seen it before, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who found it disturbing. Props to that news anchor for standing up for herself - she could've just gone with the 'oh, the camera adds 15 pounds' excuse and be done, but she didn't. I'm a big fan of the Dove campaign, and you should definitely check out this video [] if you haven't seen it - it really captures just how insecure all women, not just teenage girls, are. I don't really know how we're going to be able to change this awful mindset, because there are profit motives for magazines and other advertising outlets to keep showing the ideal women to get men to buy their products. But we need to start somewhere and your blog post provides just that :).

  2. Hey Hannah! I have to say I loved your blog, it was very insightful and analytical of the way society views women. You kept mentioning "real beauty" and I wanted to ask what you mean by that. Speaking from a bilingual perspective, beauty is viewed differently in every country. In America, the ideal beautiful woman is thin, has big eyes, and big breasts. However, I don't experience the same feelings as most girls when I see glamorized women on television, because I don't see them as that beautiful. In most of Europe and Russia, beauty is mostly defined by correct facial proportions. Big eyes can actually be seen as a downside if they don't express depth or are disproportional to the rest of the face. I would like for the insecure girls out there to know that while they may not be considered beautiful in one country, they might be considered gorgeous in another. It all depends on the perspective. Now, I'm going to take your advice and look at the women on television with a less critical eye and appreciate the attractiveness in each one.

    1. While I agree with you that beauty very much relates to culture, and so we should not think it's something universal, I think this somewhat misses what the real issue is. The overall problem is that standards of physical appearance are given way to much importance, whatever those standards may be. Whether it is being skinny or having certain facial proportions, neither really relates to how well a news anchor does her job. And while I think your resolution to appreciate each person's own unique attractiveness is a good one, I think it is also important to focus on their news casting, acting, personality, or whatever else they are on tv for.