Media's Idea of 'Perfect'


You know when you wait at the checkout line at a supermarket? Sometimes the line is long, but so are all the others. While the person in front of you is handling their groceries, you go ahead and pick up one of the many magazines at the checkout. You usually pick up the one that has the most interesting cover, or a magazine brand you’re familiar with. As you flip through mindlessly, you see ads and articles about being skinny and losing weight. There are also ads that have models with seemingly flawless skin and no imperfections to count for. They’re tall, ageless, and always thin.

Mass media’s perception of perfect has changed over the years. About forty years ago, it was all about being thick and having curves. Now it’s about having a slim waist and being skinny. Young girls have always looked at magazines of television and compared themselves to the models. Am I too fat? Am I too skinny? Those are the questions running through heads constantly. Once females see the media’s perception of ‘beauty’ or ‘perfection’, they go out and try to become what they’ve just seen.

Usually, there is no problem with this. Yes, it’s fine if girls desire to be a healthy weight. But currently, media has made this view of beauty deadly. Many models are now digitally altered and ‘airbrushed’. This means that they are photographed with their original proportions and skin flaws. But then the photograph gets to the magazine editors; they send it over to the people who have exceptional skills in Photoshop and other photo editing applications. There, they manipulate the thickness of the model, like slimming their thighs and elongating their legs. They airbrush their skin to get rid of age flaws and to destroy blemishes. Their arms are thinned also. After all that, the photograph goes back to the magazine and is published.

0720-faith-hill-photoshop-11photoshop, before and after, red

See the difference ? This is what happens to ordinary people

Most girls see these types of images and think that their body is horrible, repulsive, and imperfect. As young as nine, girls start to diet to try to live up to the image on the television screen. They begin to develop eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Some even go as far as to starve themselves to death.

All just to be perfect.

My question is: Why? Why would young girls do this to themselves just to try to live up to media’s version of ‘perfect’? What happened to the time where being thick and healthy was the way to be?  What kind of transition did the media take to end up like this? 


Comments (2)

Crystalle Hutchins (Student 2015)
Crystalle Hutchins

Your subject is very interesting and controversial. I noticed your use of a familiar story to help readers relate, great tactic. I can't wait to see your future blogs on this subject.

Emalyn Bartholomew (Student 2015)
Emalyn Bartholomew

I notice that the visual aids give a great example of the problems caused with the media's idea of perfection. I wonder how this came to be, and why? What if you showed more examples of what happens to girls when they see perfectly airbrushed models?