Friday, May 23, 2008

Should Thin Really Be In?

How are women supposed to be comfortable and content with themselves and their bodies when the media is constantly sending the message that thin is in? Avoiding the hated “d” word (diet, shhhh) seems to be as doable as Mission: Impossible due to the scrutiny women are put under from the media as well as each other. Magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Seventeen, and even Self Magazine seem to be hiring staff members that double as writers and nutritionist. Women are constantly fighting for gender equality and respect yet they are the first ones to pick apart another females body and starve themselves to fit into their “skinny” jeans. Oddly enough, a magazine such as Self that empowers women to take charge and be active included an article on dieting called “Diet like a star”, including diet plans followed by various TV Star’s diets. If women base their self esteem and self worth on their looks and how others perceive them as they strive for acceptance, women will continue to demise and never be satisfied in a society that says thin is in.

It seems unlikely that women will ever truly feel empowered when according to Chapter 1 of Hesse-Biber, “A women’s sense of worth in our culture is still greatly determined by her ability to attract a man. Body weight plays an important part in physical attraction” (Hesse-Biber 18). Magazines are filled with scantily dressed women with the bodies of ten year olds sending the message to other females that in order to be viewed as beautiful they must be thin. Rather than be comfortable in their own skin, women seek the approval of men as well as other women are constantly trying to “better” themselves through dieting. Men and women alike find this model to be sexy but how sexy is bulimia or starving oneself? Do the ends justify the means?

It’s tragic that so many celebrities and models that women kill themselves to look like are poor representatives of what to idolize with eating disorders and drug addictions being so frequent. In a society where “Girls try to make sense of the contradictory expectations of themselves in a culture dominated by advertising” (Kilbourne 259), the media blurs the line of what is healthy and acceptable and what is not according to Jean Kilborne in “The More You Subtract, The More You Add” Cutting Girls Down to Size. Women dream of body of Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton but do they want the multiple arrests, cocaine addiction, and notorious reputation that accompanies their “look.” Rather that strive for the unattainable only to be let down, women need to wake up and be content with that they’ve got. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and practical eating is ideal, more women should throw their unrealistic ideologies of body image and beauty in the trash and embrace who they are (or atleast enjoy their favorite dessert guilt free!).


"Diet Like a Star." Diet and Healthy Eating. 23 May 2008 .

Hesse & Biber, (2007). The Cult of Thinness. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Kilbourne, Jean. “The More You Subtract, The More You Add: Cutting Girls Down to Size.” Gender, Race, and Class In Media. 2nd ed. Eds. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2003. 259.