J500 Media and the Environment


Selling Skinny by beccan

I sat down for lunch a couple of days ago with a plate of veggies, peanut butter, and a bread stick sitting on the plate in front of me. On my left was a magazine with Kelly Osborn on the cover in a pink dress, with the caption, “How I got Thin”. I began to think to myself that I probably should not eat the breadstick, because it was filled with cheese and was far too delicious to have any nutritional value. I indulged anyway, and it was good, but it would’ve been better if my company at lunch wouldn’t have been a tabloid magazine.

Courtesy of google images

A tabloid magazine may not be the best lunch date.

 

That is when I started to realize that food had so much power over me. It controlled the way I lived day-to-day, it controlled my mood, and my body. I hated that it was so powerful, but I loved that it was so powerful (a true love-hate relationship). I was in awe that one picture on one magazine with one caption made me feel guilty about eating a breadstick. It sickened me that I could be so influenced my the media. 

 Confused, I decided to take a look at my complex relationship with food more carefully. I noticed that I treat food as a reward or punishment, not a way of sustaining my body. I reward myself with certain foods when I eat healthy all day and on the flip side, I make myself hit the gym for hours if I eat unhealthy one day. To be honest, as I say this right now I am eating my words. Putting my strange relationship with food into words makes it seem crazy. I guess I find it hard to find the fine line between living healthfully and having a bad relationship with food.

I wondered why these thoughts run through my head when I am and always have been healthy, according to the doctor. Why do I feel like if I do not look like the models and actresses I see on television and in magazines, then I will never be accepted by society? The media has done so much damage to how women view themselves. There are constant and persistent reminders everywhere to be skinny. Everywhere I go, there is some reminder that if I want to be accepted by society I must look a certain way.

This made me think about a commercial that a journalism teacher showed is a class i took last semester. Dove is well known for its True Beauty campaign, which is one of the only campaigns that sends the message to women that beauty lies in different sizes and shapes. But Dove’s hard to work show women that they are accepted at any size, doesn’t do too much when every other company selling something tells consumers otherwise. I watch the Dove campaign advertisements and am moved and touched, as a woman, but it really does not change the way that I think about being accepted by society.I just see Dove’s campaign as a way of trying to make Dove look good, as a public relations step. It is shown that 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance. That number is so unsettling, but I do not see it changing anytime soon, unless more companies do what Dove is doing. One company cannot make the change that it will take to change the media’s portrayal of women. 

What could the media do? Advertisers know what skinny, good looking, and tall are appealing to consumers what incentive is there to take a risk on advertising with unlikely models? Probably none. Sex appeal sells. And although Dove made a huge public relations risk, it may not have been worth it if other companies do not follow the same method. 

Becca N.

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Interesting post, Becca. I can definitely understand your frustration with how society puts pressure on women to look and even act a certain way. You hear models and actresses say they’re eating, but later it seems something comes out about those same actresses having an eating disorder. I do like what Dove has done in their campaigns, but I also know they airbrush their models almost as much as other advertising images, which is something to consider.

Anyway, do you think we’ll ever be at a point where women won’t feel bad for eating certain kinds of food? Or do you think women naturally have a desire to compete with each other? Good post.

— Lauren Cunningham

Comment by Lauren Cunningham

Personally, I think that there is already a mindset that that is how women should look and that it is around to stay at least for a while. I’m glad you brought up competition, too, because I think it has a lot to do with competition and looking better than the girl next to you. It also may think it is discouraging to some, because it seems unattainable, so people give up on living healthily.

Becca N

Comment by beccan

I guess my response to this would be that Dove is only one company both in the larger picture of media, and in how much influence they have. If their campaign appears successful in the long run, there is a good chance other companies will emulate it. ~Ben C.

Comment by Ben

Becca,

I am curious… does the Dove campaign make you anymore likely to buy their products? -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev




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