By: Larissa | February 6, 2015 | (71) Comments

discussing through midnight

This meme was created for YA Midnight Reads as a weekly discussion post of all things bookish (though sometimes not-so-bookish)

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Not going to lie, this discussion is a lot less book oriented and has a lot more of those unrealistic  societal expectations vibes. Today I’m going to attempt to analyze the media enforced societal construct  of the “perfect body.” Though it certainly exists with males too, as I am a female and have personal experience I will be focusing on the “perfect body” in regards to women. I will also nail in on the marketing done by Victoria’s Secret as an example of a form of media focusing on the aforementioned and the negative effects it can has and perpetuates.

Having the “perfect body” is an issue that is truly prevalent in society; it’s pushed on the young members of this generation constantly through various forms media (adverts, tv shows, magazines, movies…and yes, even books!). Women in particular are extremely hyper sexualized and only one body type (out of literally hundreds) is promoted. Anybody who doesn’t fit into this strict glorification of the female body may feel inferior and that they should alter themselves to become this “standard” of beauty.

When one thinks of the “perfect body”, many tend to think of Victoria’s Secret due to its marketing in the industry and heavy advertisement in the media. In particular, the well established brand recently released an ad for their new collection. This ad featured nearly ten identical body types with the title “the perfect body.” From this, easily influenced young girls will make the assumption that any other body type than the singular one showed isn’t considered beautiful and may feel negatively towards their own body. They could strive to obtain this “perfect” body, which would be not only unrealistic but nearly impossible. The models in the photo themselves don’t look like that without extreme work out regiments and strict diets. Even with a pre-disposition towards being thin,  having the “perfect body” is also unrealistic due to the existence of Photoshop in which any aspects of a photo may be altered- once again to meet those unrealistic standards of the “perfect body.” There are truly dire consequences of these standards, such as eating disorders which are on the rise for today’s youth.

Furthermore, Victoria’s Secret seems to focus in on one age group and race. While the brand does usually aim to showcase one or two models of color, there’s a much greater focus on the white models. It’s inarguable that that the white models get more promotion and are shown more in the media than the ones of color. Many would at least recognize the names of Miranda Kerr, Lily Aldridge or Karlie Kloss. However, few are even aware of the existence of the models such as Jasmine Tookes, Ming Xi or Jourdan Dunn. The difference between the previously aforementioned models is that the ones in the original list are the ones who are all white and heavily promoted. Therefore, not only does Victoria’s Secret promote singular body types but it also pinpoints a certain race and age group as being beautiful. Of course, it’s important to understand that Victoria’s Secret is not the sole company that does so. Many companies promote singular images through the media of a limited view of beauty. Victoria’s Secret is just part of a larger issue of society’s unrealistic expectations of beauty which is further perpetuated by the media.

Personally, I think the “perfect body” portrayed by the media is unattainable and damaging to those who are easily influenced. I believe that one shouldn’t aim to achieve what others perceive to be beautiful, but what is healthy and makes them feel good.  You shouldn’t compare yourself to others as they’re different from you, their healthy weight may be more or less than yours. Being healthy is much more important than simply losing weight; it’s truly lengthening your life. Instead of promoting “the perfect body” it should be “the healthy body” that is showcased.

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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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71 Responses to Discussing Through Midnight (51): The Perfect Body

  1. Alreem says:

    OMG this is one Discussing I always avoid, I really don’t like this discussing, sorry but I leaving now 🙂
    Alreem recently posted…Review: A Million Suns by Beth RevisMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      ????

      I would firstly like to apologize, I ensure that this post wasn’t made to offend so I am sorry if it did. I tried my hardest to ensure not fat or skinny shaming in this post, and honestly don’t know what would be offensive regarding my deconstruction of the ad. I’d like to hear back to see what made you so upset so I don’t end up making the same offensive mistake again

  2. I agree! I’ve had such problems with self-confidence and self-image over the past years.. I haven’t felt comfortable in my own skin because I never feel beautiful or attractive anymore. And I’ve realised that the reason for that is that I always compare myself to others -I don’t think I’m the only one who does that though.

    And in the last 2 years, I’ve been eating a bit healthier and I just started caring about my body and appearance more. And it’s not like I have lost weight but I feel much better about myself now because I’ve -mainly- stopped comparing myself to others. I try to think: All you need to think about is the change in yourself. You can be a healthier and happier version of the you you were yesterday 🙂

    And it’s been helping so much! I feel much more comfortable and happy -although my self-confidence still isn’t super, it has gotten better.

    This is a great post! 😀
    Jolien @ The Fictional Reader recently posted…Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae CarsonMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah honestly, been a teenage girl I certainly have felt the influence of the media and such which honestly hasn’t left the best feelings. Comparing is hard not to do, especially when you see these examples of perfection and can’t help but feel that innate desire to compare and contrast.

      That’s awesome to hear! I’ve been exercising and (trying…hahaha) to eat healthier, because honestly that is important and makes me feel better. I’m glad it has worked for you so well too, I can certainly see a difference in myself and I hope you can see it too.

      Thank you lovely <33

  3. I don’t have the ideal body. At least not how it’s portrayed in media these days. Yeah that hurts because I think those who do have that ‘perfect’ body… Some of them are really not pretty because they’re too skinny and just don’t look healthy at all. I tried losing weight by the way, but I’m not good with a diet and because of problems with my knee I can’t do sports too much so I’m stuck with the way I am. Take it or leave it. 😛
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah honestly, like I said in the post, I don’t feel like anybody has that “perfect body” because of photoshop and such. It’s simply not realistic. I can’t diet haha! It’s great to hear that you’re confident with your body. Own it girl!

  4. JennRenee says:

    Awesome post i love to see it when a woman knows truly what a perfect body is. Personally I think the women in the second picture are much more beautiful and I bet you they are much happier. I agree we need to find what in ourselves what is beautiful and healthy for ourselves.
    JennRenee recently posted…Thoughts on Thursday #2My Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Thank you! Honestly, I think the labeling of “perfect body” is ridiculous. There’s more than one body type out there, and to focus on one isn’t right. And yes, I believe that that finding that confidence in living a healthy lifestyle is key

  5. Applauds!!! The way The Perfect Body is portrayed is so unrealistic and I hate thinking that all of these young girls starve themselves just to try to obtain it, not realizing or not knowing that most of “The Perfect Body” is photoshopped. I can’t think of one person I know that has what society considers perfect, but to me there’s no such thing. We need to focus on being healthy and what makes us happy instead of trying to live up to unrealistic expectations.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah honestly, I would consider it to be all a facade. It really is unrealistic for the lot of us. Photoshop certainly plays a role in all of the magazines and everything. Perfection, as always is something that is unattainable. Nobody is perfect. I agree that health and confidence should be our main focus

  6. Yeah, that ‘perfect body’ advertisement is ridiculous. There is no such thing as one standard; everyone has their own size and build and they are perfect the way they are. It’s so weird how we suddenly decided that THIS is the way we should look.. We set such strange high standards on women and how we expect to look like. I hate that I had times where it really influenced me – and how I sometimes still feel I should achieve that look.

    We need to stop with portraying women like that all the time and just realize we need to embrace ourselves for who we are. This is perfectly said:
    “Women in particular are extremely hyper sexualized and only one body type (out of literally hundreds) is promoted. Anybody who doesn’t fit into this strict glorification of the female body may feel inferior and that they should alter themselves to become this “standard” of beauty.” It’s sad that this happens.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 213. Victoria Aveyard – Red Queen.My Profile

    • Larissa says:

      I agree. Honestly this whole idolization of supposed perfection is such an issue in our society. Everybody does differ in body types, there’s so many variations out there that looking for all us to be like one is frankly ridiculous. I agree with you, there are still times that I look at magazines and am like “Damn, wish I looked like here.”

      Glad you found that line to ring strong. It honestly is something that is terribly unfortunate

  7. Megan says:

    I have to say that I relate indirectly to the world’s marketing of skinny being the absolute perfect body. I say “indirectly” because my sister suffered from anorexia and even though she’s getting better, she’s still obsessing over all these Victoria’s Secret models and marveling over how good they look in lingerie or swimwear.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be thin… just as long as you don’t damage your mental and physical health by wanting that. But I definitely do think it is wrong for society to think that a woman is only perfect if she is skinny. We should believe in a healthy body, like you said, rather than a perfect one. This post reminds me of an argument feminists use, though. They said something like how all women should be appreciated and praised, no matter how their body looks. And while I agree with that, I think that it’s wrong to “praise” a person who is unhealthily obese, because that will get her nowhere.

    So, what I’m trying to say, I guess (in my usual roundabout way, I’m so sorry xP) is that we need to focus on moderation and healthiness. And we need to debunk all these social definitions, because they are not healthy for people, nor are they doing anything to prevent problems. Awesome, wonderful post, Larissa. Everyone needs to read this! Also, it’s good to do something non-bookish every once in a while. Keeps things interesting. 😉
    Megan recently posted…My Initial Thoughts Were Wrong: Red Queen, Victoria AveyardMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Awwww that is so sad to hear about your sister, however it’s great that she’s in recovery and is doing better. It’s honestly so unfortunate that these ads can have such negative mental and physical repercussions on us.

      I don’t think there is nothing wrong with loosing a few pounds either, however the issue lies when it becomes all encompassing and destructive. It’s also in a issue in society that it puts this pedestal on looking that ONE way when there is honestly so many ways we can look. Ooooo, that’s an interesting feminist quote. I think all woman should be appreciated yes, but perhaps it’s the praised part that is iffy for me.

      I agree with you on the healthiness thing! Social definitions aren’t doing anything positive honestly. And I agree, sometimes the odd non bookish thing is good to mix things up [;

  8. You hit it right on the nail. The focus should be on the healthy body and not the perfect body. The perfect body shown in advertisements isn’t even real because a ton of it is manipulated, and they do send a bad message, especially to people who are already not very confident. I think everyone struggles with body issues in some way, and it’s important for books and the media to help people love their body instead of hate it. People also shouldn’t assume that people that weigh a bit more are the only ones with body issues. Skinny people also have the same self-doubts but about different things.
    Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination recently posted…Book Review: Fairest by Marissa MeyerMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah really our health should be the thing we focus on, it is after-all what is best for us. I do agree that this ‘perfect body’ has certainly been manipulated by the media through photo-shop and such. It truly is a negative image to hold over those who are easily influenced. I also agree that we all suffer with body issues to at least some degree. I certainly believe that both skinny and curvy girls both deal with stigmas

  9. I think this is such an important issue! All forms of beauty should be appreciated, not just certain ones deemed ‘perfect’ by a company. Especially because of the insecurity and self-doubt it perpetuates, which as you mentioned, can lead to health concerns, or even worse. This is something that needs to be talked about more often- an issue can’t be overcome if everyone’s afraid to even talk about it in the first place. Great discussion! 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      I definitely think it’s important too, and something that should be talked about more to raise awareness and open our minds. There’s honestly so much variety in us humans, we shouldn’t feel forced to change ourselves to fit one unrealistic view of beauty.

      Thank you!

  10. I have more of a problem with VS selling those sexually explicit sayings on panties to teens. I also have a problem with the photoshopped photos as you mentioned. Seriously, it isn’t even perfection for the most “perfect” (their definition, not mine) of us. Not sure what wisdom is in that. I think there has been a shift (a slow one) in defining the “perfect” body as in there is no “perfect” in the general sense. Only “perfect” in the personal sense. Even that may need to be redefined for some. Nice post!
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    • Larissa says:

      That’s a whole other discussion there haha. Photoshop really is a invisible evil, it is created for the sole purpose of ‘erasing’ flaws. But isn’t that what makes us human? Yeah I’m glad to see the beginnings of that word changing too. Hopefully we see “perfect” loose all meaning soon.

      Thanks Melissa! <33

  11. benish khan says:

    I agree with your comments, a lot of time false advertising can hurt. Even though, I’ve been thin my whole life – I don’t think it’s the “perfect body.” I do wish people would stop portraying woman in a certain manner and be more accepting of the way they are.
    benish khan recently posted…Blackout by Meredith McCardle ♥ ReviewMy Profile

  12. Kelly says:

    Larissa, I absolutely heart you poppet, so young but your social conscious and attitude towards human rights and fighting for the underdog is so awe inspiring.

    I remember when I was a teen, of course there was pressure to follow the latest trends and wear what everyone else was wearing, but the need to have a perfect body just wasn’t that prominent, well not in my circles anyway. To be a young woman today, everything seems to be sexualised now. The pressure to have this perfect, flawless body even and considering you’re still in that transition from girl to woman, it’s completely unrealistic and not a healthy body image they should be promoting.

    I love the Dove campaign for real beauty http://www.dove.us/Social-Mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx
    Even at my age, you’re expected to have a tone and tight body, part gym junkie, part salad eater. Come on. I’m almost 35 years old and have hips, I have boobs and a rounded bum and according to the media, I should wear a bag over my head and possibly a potato sack. But I’m comfortable in my skin. I’m happy, I’m healthy and I think that’s something that comes more with age and shutting out the negativity and giving those companies like Victoria’s Secret a big F YOU.

    Every female is beautiful if it comes from within.
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    • Larissa says:

      <333 I heart you too Kelly. Everything I discuss here on the blog are important issues to me (and I feel they should be important to everybody) so I just hope to raise awareness at the minimum. It'd be nice to change some ideals as well, but ehhh.

      Oooo yeah, that's an interesting angle you brought up. I think the sexualization definitely does play a role and it is difficult because it's as if society excepts us to go from "awww you're so adorable little girl" one day to "total sex bombshell woman" the next. ????? What even is society? It's most certainly problematic.

      I love the Dove campaign and all of the ideals behind it. I really love that it's picked up a lot of attention (: I'm so glad that despite all of the societal media "perfection" rubbish that you manage to stand tall and proud of who you are.

      Agreed

  13. Oh Larissa, this is SO spot on. I have so very much to say about this I don’t even know where to start (though I do want to know what is up with the first commenter- um, you didn’t say one single derogatory thing to any person or body type, so I am as baffled as you are!)

    I have struggled with this for 100% of my life (you know, that I can remember). Even as young as 5 and 6 years old, my dad insisted I be involved with sports (which was one thing) and monitored everything I ate, and chastised me for eating too much (even though my brother would eat the exact same thing and no one cared). I was certain that I was the fattest, most disgusting person to ever roam the Earth. Looking back as a rational adult, I wasn’t even overweight! I swam competitively from the time I was 7 straight through college, yet the comments were always there. I was obviously healthy- my goodness, I was a machine! Training non-stop, etc.

    I too saw the images in the media: small waist, huge boobs, blonde and tan = beautiful. Everyone else can just go home. Well, I have exactly zero of those things. Even at the height of my training, I was never any smaller than a size 6, that just isn’t how my body is made. I have the boobs of a 12 year old boy. I am the palest person in all the land. I was certain that I was ugly, and unlovable. Hell, I still think those things, and I am of an age where I should know better. (I read somewhere that in your 30s, you start to not worry about that kind of stuff, but so far, this is untrue!)

    But now, I am no longer a healthy size, and it is even harder, because I wish I hadn’t spent all that time beating myself up. There was nothing wrong with me then- not a thing! I look at pictures, and I look the same as my friends- none of them were walking the runway either 😉 I would love to be able to go back and tell my past self that she was FINE.

    Now, as a mom, it breaks my heart to think that one day, my daughter will feel that way. I am so careful to never criticize myself in her presence, but I do criticize myself in my head. I don’t want to be out and around thinner, prettier people. It’s a constant struggle.

    And Victoria’s Secret is the worst kind of offender, because not only are the propagating the whole “skinny is better” thing, but if you don’t have at least a B cup, you simply cannot shop there. So what kind of troll am I, with my big old stomach and no boobs? They don’t even want my money!

    As it pertains to books… I find that characters are often described as “small” or “tiny”, and sometimes (preferably) their body type isn’t described at all. I count that as a win. Anyway, sorry I went on for so long, but this is such an important topic to me, and I am SO glad that you brought it up. And you’ve done so in a very eloquent and inoffensive way, which is quite hard to do. Great job, we need more of this! <3
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    • Larissa says:

      <33 girl can I just say I love you and this comment? Because I do. it takes a lot of courage to open up about these difficult topics and the fact you did so really does show how strong you've become.

      Awwww, honestly the fact you were faced with these pressures at such an impressionable young age is super unfortunate and frankly sad. It is those fundamental years that were at are most easily influenced by these societal ideals, and it can be so damaging. The fact your brother got away with eating whatever he wanted annoys me too, ugh I hate double standards more than anything. Like when a young boy eats whatever, he's simply "awwww an growing boy!" Yet when a young girl does the same, it is not okay? UGH.

      Ugh that definition of "perfection" is honestly so narrow-minded and unrealistic. A lot of humans literally can not change themselves no matter what to fit these views, which makes them all the more damaging. You can't change your bone structure. Yet girls will try and try to achieve this definition, even when it leads to toxic things like eating disorders. The fact you still feel this way truly shows how ingrained these views can get in our minds.

      Awwwww. I definitely feel you there, even at my age I want to be like "yooooo ten year old self….eat all those cookies!" Really it's body image is such an influence on us at all ages and I believe we just need try to move on from these unrealistic idealizations. And oh my god, you are so right. I definitely don't want a daughter of my own going through life trying to conform and feel pressured to do so by "the perfect body."

      Yeah Victoria's Secret has cute stuff, not going to lie. However it isn't for me. I'm larger than a B cup, and also just kinda oddly shaped hahah. I need more support!

      I agree! With books I would also consider that lack of information a win.

      Thank you <33 if you ever want to talk about anything like this or whatever, feel free to message me

  14. Diamond says:

    It’s a major problem. Although, I think it doesn’t even matter what the models “actually” are — it’s what they lOOK like. As long as they LOOK white, they’re in. Even if they’re black, if they’re light skinned they shove them to the side as a “token” black model..smh. I gotta mention, two of the three you mentioned are actually Brazilian / South American…but yeah. The point remains the same, only one type of body is shown and it makes everyone else feel inadequate at some point. Even if you’re super confident, as I am pretty confident with my body…there’s always that moment that I feel like, ugh I wish I was a bit..so and so.. which is crap b/c that’s usually at a store (likes victorias secret) where I get those feelings.
    It’s a complex issue..I do notice a trend, I don’t know whether it’s positive or not, BUT I feel like the Kim Kardashian “bigger hips and bum” trend along with bigger bust size is potentially a positive change forward even though it’s just another trend at least it’s a step in the right direction. Maybe I’m pessimistic but part of me is like, just watch them turn this into some weird thing that no one can accomplish lol.
    Great topic!
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    • Larissa says:

      Ooooo good point! I agree that it even becomes what they look like, for example the models I mentioned. I didn’t even KNOW they were South American. Lol despite this being due to my lack of knowledge regarding models, some of it may be accounted to the fact that there’s also a lot of white washing that happens in the industry.

      Yeah most days I’m honestly okay with my body, it’s taken me awhile but I’m there now. However, I still also have those days where I can’t help but compare myself to other girls in the media and wish for change. Lol I agree that Kim’s body type is certainly also getting a lot of attention recently. Let’s hope we can see a variety of body types start to get highlighted.

  15. Awk, YES, I completely and totally agree! I think it’s awful how society has put out this “perfect body” image and just..basically ingrained it into our minds. And it’s not going to be shaken off easily. It’s so sad…so many girls get ruined thinking they’ll never be beautiful until their that perfect weight…gah. So so wrong. I also hate when this leaks into books. I feel like people who write should be educated in, well, LIFE! That “beautiful” doesn’t mean white, tall, and skinny…but yet this fills books too. Sadness. 🙁
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah! That’s the word I was looking for lol, ingrained. It’s honestly become a part of our culture and UGH, it is not okay. You’re correct that it’s going to take a whole lot of time for there to be change, I honestly just hope that it will happen in time so my daughter doesn’t have to go through through this shit.

  16. I agree with this. And also, little girls think that wanting to be a model is all glamorous. I tried to be one because I thought I would gain confidence but that didn’t happen at all..it did the opposite. Seeing all those models makes us think we should strive to be like them. There are’t much campaigns for the real body and that is sad. We should promote that being healthy is what matters not being size 00.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, modelling certainly is a cut throat and hard industry. I know the surface image of ‘glamorous’ is definitely misleading. Yeah, being healthy should be what we strive towards and we should see more of this in the media.

  17. *sighs* yes, this is definitely worth discussing, and I feel like the images the media throws at us get worse and worse! Always shiny hair and bright eyes, long, slim, but still slightly muscled legs and of course a teeny-tiny waist.

    The second picture you featured in this post is actually amazing! Beautiful women with different body shapes, skin color, hair color and their bodies are all perfect. To me, the perfect body is the body that helps me doing the things I love doing. I try to be healthy, because I want to be around for a long while still, but I don’t look like any models I’ve ever seen 😉

    You’re right about the ages, too. It’s as if women over 35 cease to exist, until the age group of those who are retired are being targeted for stuff the older generation might need. It’s kind of depressing sometimes, but mostly, I’m able to shrug it off. And thankfully, because I’m quite happy in my own skin even with my flask tummy and slightly saggy butt, my daughters feel great in their skin as well! And we are all about being different in our family… The pressure from the outside is still there though, and it terrifies me sometimes, that that pressure could make it into my children’s minds and make them feel like they are not good enough.

    Great post, Larissa!
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    • Larissa says:

      Honestly I don’t think the ratios even make sense, especially with photoshop involved in the picture. Again though, it’s also the same singular body type. No variation, as if all of us humans should all desire to be that one build.

      That’s why I picked the image, it should so much diversity. Age, race, body type… not one of the models looked like the other. Which is definitely much more accurate to us humans. I agree with you on the healthy thing hahah.

      Honestly the focus on the singular demographic doesn’t make sense business wise either. You’d think they would try to reach as many people as possible. It’s honestly awesome to hear that you feel so happy with your body as do your daughters (: The pressure really can be scary if you think on it, truly is quite encompassing

  18. Beth says:

    I completely agree with you! There is so much emphasis on being ‘perfect’ (who gets to decide what perfect is though?) nowadays that it tends to overshadow being healthy. For me it’s a particularly touchy subject as I have a media obsessed, bulimic little sister. I get so frustrated that everywhere you look, being skinny is praised over being healthy.
    Sorry for the little rant; you touched a nerve there!
    Beth x
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah the influence and importance placed on perfection is insane really. It does overshadow healthy which honestly boggles my mind. Shouldn’t we promoting that instead? it’s okay Beth, I totally understand that it’s a sensitive topic

  19. Laura says:

    I completely agree! The media is putting so much pressure on everyone (specifically women and teenage girls) to appear just a certain way and if that way isn’t possible for you, well then I guess you’ll be ugly for life. It’s a horrible message to send to everyone! I actually never noticed how there really aren’t that many models of color! I was in a sociology class last semester and we talked about self-fulfilling prophecy’s like if girls of color don’t see any women who look like them as models, they won’t strive to be a model which fulfills the stereotype that women of color don’t make good models. It’s a horrible cycle and I hope with social media becoming more of a thing that people will connect more and realize that it is possible to be whatever you want. Overall, we just need more diversity in the media to really represent the world how it is!

    Awesome post!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah the pressure is all encompassing and really there’s no way to win as the standards are so unattainable. Yeah, there really isn’t as much representation in models that some may think- or at least they don’t get the same levels of promotions it seems. That mini lesson in sociology makes sense and truly showcases why representation has so much importance.

      Thank you!

  20. I love the catchphrase – a “healthy body”! and I absolutely agree. I’ve long dismissed Victoria’s Secret as the embodiment of beauty when they’ve started being criticised for their promotion of bodies that are unattainable and promote insecurity among women instead. It’s truly sad that they perpetuate a mentality that is damaging to women as a whole, and what’s even sadder is that they continue to do so despite calls to change. Thankfully, change IS starting, albeit at a crawl-like pace, but it IS starting, especially other companies who have heard the pleas to make a different in a society of people who feel inferior to who the media often portrays as perfect.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah health is something much more important to be than conforming to societal ideals. Victoria’s Secret really does promote insecurity, good point there. I really think if they did change their marketing and such that it would have a large impact just because of their place in the industry. Yeah, I’ve noticed a little bit of change start to occur as well. I only hope it’ll be different for my own daughter

  21. Breanne says:

    I see what point you’re trying to make here, but at the same time you’re shaming Victoria’s Secret models. All the models do have gorgeous bodies, and they achieved that by working hard for it, just as you would a job or an A on a test. The models themselves are all such lovely people, and their ages range from 17-30 somethings, so its not like they only feature women in their twenties. Victoria’s Secret also have sizes ranging from the models sizes, into much bigger sizes. The models are all healthy and have a healthy diet and lifestyle and I think that’s what people should focus on. I am in no way shaming bigger girls, as I am one myself, but I know that I am not healthy and should improve on this, and therefore my body isn’t perfect as it’s unhealthy. View this as you wish, but it is my opinion. I think the perfect body is a healthy one, and while an obese male or female is still beautiful, their bodies are not healthy and can do them harm! Also, the three multi-raced girls you mentioned are well known in the model community, especially Jasmine and Jourdan.

    • Larissa says:

      I honestly don’t think I’ve shamed VS models in this post, as I never spoke that their body types were bad in themselves. What I’ve talked about is more so what they represent and how this singular body type being highlighted isn’t right as we’re all different in bone structures and such. I do understand VS models work hard, I mean I googled their diets and damn. No way would I be able to do that. I don’t think a lot of people could though, which is why I went on in this post how most shouldn’t strive to live on a VS diet/exercise regime as it wouldn’t work for most of us. I honestly haven’t seen the bigger VS models, more so the one body type highlighted in the featured ad and the ones at their stores.

      At the end of the post, I do state that we should focus on being healthy and say we should see these as our goal. So I agree with you on that front! As for Jasmine and Jourdan, they’re super gorgeous and yes successful models. However, I feel like in VS they just haven’t been promoted in the media the same way as others.

  22. Jaz says:

    This is such an accurate post Larissa. There is no such thing as the perfect body to be honest. While I’m as skinny as a stick (fast metabolism), my body type is far from that of a VS model with their chests and toned bodies. Like you said, they go through serious fitness regimes and strict diets to achieve that look. The Angels and VS models are also ‘selected’ from thousands of girls so the chance of someone having the ‘perfect’ body type is actually very unrealistic. It’s sad that girls these days are still striving to be like that. It’s not like you can magically be 1.75m. What the media should be promoting is loving yourself and a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is more important than being thin.

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah unfortunately I find it accurate too LOL. I agree that perfection is a futile concept. I get that there are naturally skinny people, however along with what you said- the ratios, proportions and the existence of photoshop makes things shaky. They do go through some crazy diets- google it! Those girls are super dedicated and I do give them props in that respect. Ahhh, 1.75 M, the magic number. I agree that self love and healthy should be promoted over unrealistic expectations.

  23. Red Iza says:

    The tiny perfect body shown by the media is of course unattainable for most of us and it’s done on purpose : how much are you willing to buy things and pay for expensive products to reach this goal ? It works for commerce… while women are desperate and throw their health away trying to weigh less. I have two daughters, 13 and 11, and their friends talk about diets to lose weight !!! I hope I have taught my daughters better, but the heavy weight of conformity – especially for teenagers – put a terrible pressure upon them.
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    • Larissa says:

      Good point, business definitely plays a role in this web unfortunately. It’s a cycle of poor body image and the fact companies benefit and even depend on this frankly is ridiculous to me. Ahhh yeah, I feel the pressure is so immense that it’s impacting girls at even younger ages. I just hope we can rise above these standards just gain confidence and be healthy

  24. Wow. That advertisement is the epitome of perpetuating negative body image in girls and women. There is NO such thing as a perfect body, and the fact that only ONE type of body (slim) is shown in the ad is even worse.

    No two humans are the same, and that means that girls and women simply cannot live up to the unrealistic expectations that society places on us. It’s unfair, and unhealthy to expect us to all look the same.

    I like that you said being healthy is more important than confining to the image that the media promotes so forcefully. But it’s also hard, because some people hold that image very dear to them, and cannot see that anything that deviates from that image is also beautiful.

    I know that I have only ever been truly happy with my body twice in my life. And one of those times was when I was barely eating one meal a day (I had a lack of appetite and literally could not eat). But that wasn’t healthy, and it makes me sad to think that now I am eating at least two meals a day I’m not happy with how I look.

    I wish that healthy body image was promoted, so that girls and women wouldn’t feel this insane pressure to change who they are.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, I saw it and definitely had to do a double take. I mean, they seriously look identical in terms of body 😮

      Normally I roll my eyes at the cliche of “special snowflake” but in this case it’s true. As humans we are all so different from one another when it comes to our body shapes/sizes, proportions, ratios and such.

      I do agree that it is difficult. So often with our goal of being healthy can go too far because of that large pressure of the standards that do exist.

      Honestly, I used to also struggle with body image and such. I still have bad days where I just can’t help but wish to look like others. But generally, I’m okay with my look. I suppose it just takes perspective and time, something that is not easy by far.

      I agree! The pressure creates such a negative standard that is completely mentally and physically destructive.

  25. Valerie says:

    The second photo is from Dove right? I don’t know, but they got it right. I’m glad that everyone knew that Victoria’s Secret’s ad wasn’t right at all (or I think) because when it first came out, everyone was like “no”. Ugh, I hate how society puts so much pressure on us girls. IT REALLY SUCKS. LIKE NO. LEAVE ME ALONE. It’s all for marketing anyways 🙁

    Awesome discussion Larissa!!!
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  26. Larissa says:

    The second photo is actually from Dear Kate (http://www.dearkates.com/blogs/diary/15637197-the-perfect-body)

    Yeah, I’m glad that we can at least recognize the VS ad as problematic in at least one way. YEAH I KNOW THE PRESSURE JUST NEEDS TO LEAVE LIKE THERE’S JUST SO MUCH OF IT OUT THERE. And yeah it’s a marketing scheme /:

    Thanks boo :*

  27. Jo says:

    I have to agree that there is no one definition of “the perfect body”. Practically speaking, there is age and race and height to consider. They all determine bone structure, weight distribution, etc, etc. So that’s why I never take models seriously because NO ONE looks like that. And I get how some people get obsessed trying to look like that and it’s sad. Because it’s not just buying the bra that will make me look pretty. It’s starving myself to make myself that thin when I shouldn’t be. So I agree that the message should definitely change. Staying HEALTHY should be goal. Whether that means losing some weight/fat, or gaining some muscle, or whatever it may be, THAT is what should be promoted.
    I personally think there is such a thing as too skinny. Like, I’d rather have more curves myself, but what can I do about that? I have no idea, but I do know that although I’m “skinny,” I do need to be healthier.

  28. This is such a fantastic discussion, and I honestly don’t think we can possibly have it enough. When I was younger (in high school and college), I only weighed 99 pounds – not because I was trying to diet or anything, but just because I had a small body type and a quick metabolism. But, even at that weight, I still had a little pooch on my stomach, and I always felt horrible about it. I wanted to be the right kind of thin – not just skinny. There are so few people who live up to that “perfect” image of beauty, and the rest of us are left to feel less than. I hope that will one day change.
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  29. Cynthia says:

    Oh yes this is such a great post! I am so tired of the way magazines shame women about their body. And it isn’t just about weight either. I have tons of freckles and when I was younger I was obsessed with covering up my freckles so my skin could look like the women on the cover. But then yes, they would have all these articles about weight loss and exercise. I ended up canceling my subscription to Fitness magazine. I had one for the LONGEST time. I kept aspiring to have the body on the cover, but then I realize the women on the cover don’t even look like that in real life. For one thing, every single cover model had a perfect stomach, no fat at all, and a gap between their thighs. It took me a while to realize that my thighs are always going to touch (even at a healthy weight) and that’s okay.
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  30. Excellent post Larissa, I love your thought out discussions! This is definitely correct, all of our lives females are bombarded with skinny model types who are lauded in front of us like we should be looking like them. In reality there are many shapes and sizes who are beautiful and we should be proud of what we have.
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