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