Posted at 2:30 p.m., Dec. 8, 2015

Messages from advertisements
have taken control of lives

Unattainable ‘perfect body,’ violence on women has become graphic in ads

The “perfect body” has driven many people into a never-ending, disappointing cycle. Part of our daily lives is viewing the perfect body on television, magazines and ads. The perfect body consists of no fat. On top of that, women must have decent-sized breasts and butt, no nipples and a thigh gap, while men must have at least a six-pack and their full body must be extremely muscular.

These body types being advertised and seen daily creates unrealistic expectations for people. It is a struggle for many of us to understand that these people have been photo-shopped and the models themselves do not look anything like their pictures. Society is no longer OK with the average body.

This dissatisfaction has led to drastic measurements since the simple workout-and-diet plan is not creating the end desire. Two effects have become common in our society; the first is the rise of anorexia and bulimia, and the second is literally working to death. The two effects combined has led to slow, torturous deaths.

Both men and women have starved themselves to get rid of all the fat their bodies may have. Yet, when someone first starts to starve themselves, the body goes on lockdown and stores all the food the body is given in the form of fat. The person gains weight at first before they lose all of their fat. Eventually, the body does not receive the nutrition it needs, so it eats itself to receive the nutrients until the person dies.

On top of the “perfect body” image, people are expected to live life happy all the time and never show their weaknesses. Because of this, persons will keep a smile on their face throughout days when they can’t handle the work they are given. Having to always be strong and have the perfect body is breaking people because they must workout every day, always eat healthy and take as large of a workload as is expected from them.

This is hurting our current generations, but many people don’t realize that it is also affecting our younger population. Jean Kilbourne, a pioneer activist and a cultural theorist, stated at a TEDx Talks event that girls are comfortable with their bodies until adolescence, then the self-esteem lowers drastically. She also said despite these facts, advertising is starting to target young girls. Children younger than adolescence are starting to be in advertisements as sexual figures as if they were grown women. Kilbourne pointed out that men are starting to be objectified in advertisements, but still not to the point women are.



Sex and some jeans:

Calvin Klein jeans released this ad in 2010 that looks similar to a gang-rape.

Advertisements can attack women’s appearances. Kilbourne read an advertisement at a TEDx Talks event that said things such as women may never have the perfect boobs or butt and may never be skinny enough, but at least their hair can look good; that was an advertisement for a hair product. She said men are starting to be objectified, but they still aren’t at the same level women are in advertisements because their looks do not get attacked in the description.

Cameron Russell, a famous model, has said the most insecure people you will meet are models because they have to care and think about their looks on a daily basis. Along those lines, another famous model named Cindy Crawford said, “Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.”

Advertisements are edited. Hardly ever, unless the model or famous person themselves are posting the photo, do unedited advertisements or photos get released. Photoshop has been a tool used in editing men and women to the point they don’t even look like human beings. There are images of models where their heads are larger than their pelvises; this is not humanly possible. Every blemish is removed from the body, making it flawless. Yet, as a society we have accepted these images as the “perfect look.”

Violence toward women


Shoes of murder:

Jimmy Choo, a shoe company, released this ad of the “aftermath” of a murder in 2006..

Advertisements are becoming more violent toward women. They often make women look vulnerable and submissive. For example, a Calvin Klein jeans advertisement from 2010 shows multiple men touching a woman in a sexual way. Jimmy Choo released an ad in 2006 of the “aftermath” of a man killing a woman as a way of promoting shoes. It has given society an acceptance to treat women with abuse and make them sexually submissive.

It comes to the question of what is true beauty. People have argued that true beauty does not even involve the physical look. However, most people are in the middle of the spectrum. Beauty is being attracted to someone, but internal beauty is the part that counts.

As a culture and society, I believe we need to stop this cycle from continuing. We need to define true beauty and allow people to be human beings instead of objects. As humans, we should see our models being just that, humans. Young girls need to see that people have flaws and the “perfect body” is unattainable. The “perfect body” should be an average-sized man or woman who do not work themselves to death.

If we continue on our current path, someday we will be studied as a society who made people objects. We forget emotions and live as if we are robots. Do you want our culture to be remembered this way?

previous articles by Shari Johnson