It’s hard to differentiate between what we think and what we are conditioned to think and this is very clear when it comes to body image and the convention of women’s beauty.
Our society is flooded with images of beautiful, thin, young and light-skinned girls in every form of media. We use these images as a standard of which to judge ourselves. Even though we are all aware that even the models themselves don’t look like the girls on the covers of magazines, we feel inadequate until we reach that level of “beauty”.
“I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” – Cindy Crawford
In the film Killing Us Softly 4 and the Ted Talk from model Cameron Russel, they analyzed the impact that these expectations are having on girls and young women. In advertising, girls are increasingly getting skinnier and younger which leads to girls striving for this image, many times at the cost of their health.
We forget that what we see in Calvin Klein ads and in on the runways of New York Fashion Week is not a cross section of society but rather a look in at a very small percentage of it. Some girls are predisposed to be tall and thin with no hips and perky breasts. Most of us, though, are not and that’s perfectly okay.
When we are bombarded with these images paired with the message that we must look that way to be loved and accepted, we seise to view ourselves through our own eyes and instead view it through the filter of societal expectations.
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” – Kate Moss
It’s important to remember this when we look in the mirror and start critiquing our bodies but it’s even more important to remember when going out into the world.
These types of expectations are not only damaging to our own view of ourselves but to the way men and society view us. They too, are seeing those images and instead of realizing those aren’t examples of all women, they begin to expect that from their partners. Hyper-sexualization of products being sold by bikini-wearing supermodels warps their impression of women in regards to their sexuality. No, not all women are a size zero and no we are not sexually attracted to our shampoo..or candy..or kitchen sink.