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Old 01-10-2006, 05:16 AM   #1
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Default Body image & THIN MODELS!

If I had a penny for each time I've seen a model's ribs in a magazine advert, I'd be rich! However, try to find a woman with 20% body fat in any glossy magazine and you'd be looking for a long long time!

I used to feel that everything would be fine if only I looked like the girls in Shape. I too wanted to be able to jump around on the beach in the tiniest shorts with great hair! Now I've progressed along my journey a little further, I don't ever want to look like the girls in Shape! For me the look is "skinny fat" where they've dieted down so you can see their ribs, but they also have no muscle! Yes you may mistake their legs for cocktail sticks but how many roundhouse kicks can they do?

Does anyone else feel intimidated and or belittled by models in magazine adverts? Anyone get really REALLY annoyed that Sophie Dahl turned into a skeleton as soon as she got famous?

I'm writing an essay on the female body image in advertising and any views on the subject would be greatly appreciated! Thank you very much!
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Old 01-10-2006, 08:56 AM   #2
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What an excellent topic for an essay! I think everyone will agree that magazine models are too skinny and therefore create an unrealistic image of what people expect all women to look like. Besides making the overweight feel like crap, it drives young girls to diet even if they haven't a pound to lose! It also creates higher expectations in many men's minds, and it portrays an incorrect image of health. You're absolutely right--SKINNY isn't healthy. Protruding bones and a hairline-thin profile do not automatically mean healthy muscle tone and strong organs. Sure, not all of the women are really so skinny (thanks to technology like airbrushing), but I'd take the Angelina Jolie from Tomb Raider (did you see the muscles in her arms and thighs?) over the skin-draped skeleton she often appears to be now.

Also, in advertisements, the stick-thin models are often shown with hot men, fancy jewelery, and other luxuries. Dove's campaign with "real women" for the cellulite cream (I think it's Dove, anyway) has heavier models who IMO look healthier than the skinny ones, but they are always alone. I know the purpose of the ad is to show them in their underwear, but why can't models like that be used in other ads? Would it be so horrible to see one of those "full-figured" models with diamond jewelery and a fur coat in a shoe ad?

About the muscle thing, too (hehe, "skinny fat"), why do models have to be either super-skinny or full-figured? Why can't they be NORMAL women who have a normal body fat percentage and some actual muscle definition (no, bone outlines seen through the skin do not count as muscle definition )? I know advertisers choose models with long, lean lines because it supposedly makes clothing look better, but I don't need a skinny fat chick in an ad for shoes or jewelery or hair products...

Unfortunately, I also understand that it's to late to change it. I think the models in magazines will be skinny fat for a long time to come. It's what consumers have come to expect and anticipate when they flip through a magazine, and change is difficult in such a huge industry. I'm just kind of babbling now, and I'm sure I'm not exactly on-topic with what you had in mind, but I think I've made my point (or points...)
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Old 01-10-2006, 09:22 AM   #3
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What kills me is even plus-sized models have great bodies.

I'm like, "THAT'S plus-sized??? Try weighing 220 pounds, then we'll talk plus-sized."
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Old 01-10-2006, 09:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jillybean720
[color=indigo] It also creates higher expectations in many men's minds, and it portrays an incorrect image of health. You're absolutely right--SKINNY isn't healthy.
You meant to say women's minds, or what women IMAGINE men prefer. Men generally find slightly overweight more attractive than underweight ones.
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertW
You meant to say women's minds, or what women IMAGINE men prefer. Men generally find slightly overweight more attractive than underweight ones.
Heh, just forget I said it, then...I meant what I said, but I know if I explain it, it'll just start a debate
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:26 AM   #6
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umm, it posted twice, and I don't know how to delete this post!
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:32 AM   #7
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not my hubby he likes bonier the better,don't know how i ever got out of control with his idealisms



Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertW
You meant to say women's minds, or what women IMAGINE men prefer. Men generally find slightly overweight more attractive than underweight ones.
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:41 AM   #8
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In this culture, advertising images of females frequently contain an invisible yet implicit man who approves of and defines the feminine ideal. Thus the point of view in advertisments featuring the perfect female body is almost always that of an implied male spectator.
by Vickie Rutledge Sheilds in Measuring Up: How Advertising Affects Self-Image

So Jilly is wright.... and Robert is right too!

Personally I find myself swayed by the "male ideal" that is portrayed in the media - I like muscley men, but I also want to be muscley myself. Although saying that, I find Eddie Izzard in make-up quite sexy too, so maybe that's just me being wierd! And of course to prove a point, that even though I prefer my men muscley in my ideal world, my DF is a 140lb weakling!

I'd also like to throw in a quote I read somewhere, but I can't remember where. Some lady, on why she "starved herself", she said, "I don't starve myself for men... I starve myself for other women."
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:51 AM   #9
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We must remember that models are 'clothes hangers'. You're not supposed to look at them, you're supposed to look at the clothes.
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2frustrated
I'd also like to throw in a quote I read somewhere, but I can't remember where. Some lady, on why she "starved herself", she said, "I don't starve myself for men... I starve myself for other women."
How true! Women can get quite catty and competitive with one another. However, I think the reason for this is still that women are always trying to be better than other women in order to be more attractive to men (whether they realize it or not)...i.e., if there were no men, then women wouldn't be as competitive since there would be no "prize" (I won't comment on how many guys I think could actually be considered a prize ) for being the best (whether the "best" be the smartest, prettiest, thinnest...).
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:55 AM   #11
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Oh yeah! I forgot! Well I don't like my clothes hangers with ribs!
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanB
We must remember that models are 'clothes hangers'. You're not supposed to look at them, you're supposed to look at the clothes.
Ha, put a skinny chick in a skimpy outfit (no matter what designer it's by) and tell a typical guy to only look at the clothes...good luck
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:10 AM   #13
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I agree with Robert. I know plenty of men who do not find the people you see in magazines and on TV attractive. They may very well concede that they have beautiful faces, or that their persona makes them seem sexy but they almost ALWAYS end with the phrase, "but she is too skinny." They have enough life experience to know models and actresses are not the norm and appreciate "real" women. Younger guys who have not had the opportunity to be up close and personal with an ACTUAL female form are proabably more inclined to set expectations based on what they have seen in print and film. Many of them have no idea that real breasts are not usually found in the shape and size of cantelopes. They are likely to adapt their standards once they hit the real world though.

In general, girls and women are a different story. Like Robert said, we tend to compare ourselves to one another and set unrealistic standards for ourselves. I don't know any men who thumb through a GQ and feel they must aspire to look like the men represented there. They may WISH they looked like that but once they put the magazine down they go back to being pretty content with themselves. If they were health conscious before they still are and if they weren't, well they probably still aren't (obviously there are exceptions).

In my opinion, young girls are the most at risk. Because once we form an image of our body it is very difficult to undo it. We tend to hold on to the idea we have of ourselves regardless of any physical changes. As a parent, I feel it is MY responsibilty to make sure my daughter's (and son's, for that matter) body image and self esteem remain in tact as she grows and develops. Magazines can put whatever they want on their covers - their job is to sell magazines and they've obviously found the magic formula. It would be great if they exhibited a certain amount of social responsibility by using models who represented "normal" but they don't - and they don't owe it to me to do so. Don't get me wrong, it annoys me. But I do believe the messages they send can be defused with responsible parenting.

I think it is important to recognize and accept that the media does not represent "real" life. Tabloid magazines wouldn't sell if they weren't reporting something outrageous. Theatre seats would be empty if they played movies about the day to day life of most people. It is all about extremes - and that is how it is inteded to be. Fantasy sells - we either want to imagine that someone else's life is so very awesome so that we can daydream what it is like to be them or we want to see someone fall flat on their faces so that we can feel better than them. We can't decide what we'd rather see - a celebrity get fat so that we can tsk, tsk them or one to become anorexic so that we can think, "at least that isn't me."

It is also critical that we recognize that Hollywood standards are NOT typical. Not long ago there was a benefit for Katrina victims here in Mississippi. I had the opportunity to meet with many of the celebrities who participated. I can assure you of one thing. The female celebrities who appear "real" on TV are gaunt and frail in real life. The ones who seem healthy except for being too thin would break if you hugged them too hard. The ones who are normal, healthy weights - are the ones the general public considers fat. It isn't that we truly believe they are overweight but they ARE chunky in comparison to their counterparts - and that is visibly noticable.

We can blame the media all we want. But, when it is all said and done, it up to us to evaluate what we see and draw logical conclusions about normalcy, health, and body image. Which is exactly why you will never find me in the check out aisle buying a Teen People for my daughter that oozes concern that Mary Kate Olsen is too thin (all the while reporting every juicy detail of how she became anorexic) right under the headline, "Read how Jessica Simpson got her Dukes of Hazzard Body!" It is insane and we do not HAVE to fall for it.
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:28 AM   #14
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Lucky's quote ..... We can blame the media all we want. But, when it is all said and done, it up to us to evaluate what we see and draw logical conclusions about normalcy, health, and body image. Which is exactly why you will never find me in the check out aisle buying a Teen People for my daughter that oozes concern that Mary Kate Olsen is too thin (all the while reporting every juicy detail of how she became anorexic) right under the headline, "Read how Jessica Simpson got her Dukes of Hazzard Body!" It is insane and we do not HAVE to fall for it.
The media prints more of those magazines because someone buys them. Lots of someones buy lots of them. It is my right, duty and obligation to teach myself (and my own) discernment

We must also be careful who we assume is popular. The media prints stuff it can get. I don't know about any of you but I have never asked, wanted to know or cared about anything Kate Moss or Paris Hilton was doing.
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:36 AM   #15
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Linda mentioned that some "Plus Size" models don't look to be PLUS. I have to agree with her, but every once in awhile I have see afew plus size models that are bigger girls,but I've seen more that appear to be a normal weight.
One thing for sure, If you see an outfit on a model in a magizine it's not gonna look like that on me....
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