Today's media has become a huge benefactor for women in society's poor body acceptance. Although advertising aims to convince us to buy things, ads seldom portray people that look like us. The average female fashion model wears in-between a size two or four, while the average American woman wears a size 12 or 14. Although today's media portrays female models as alluring, and desirable by all men; it is also producing a "picture that is far removed from reality' and is fiercely "unreal, and unattainable" (452).
Images of models in ads are often touched up, in order to disguise minor flaws or make the models appear even skinnier than they really are. These false body image ads, showing bodies that are not ell or representative of the general female population, have far-reaching effects. It might seem that it should be recognizable when an ad shows something not real; but we still tend to trust what is seen in the media and through that, body image can be easily confused. The constant barrage of unrealistically skinny women can stir up feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and depression.
This is what leads to the development of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, in today's young adult population. Even before young woman were influenced by the images of media; they were being influenced tit America's top selling manufactured doll since 1 959, Barbie. The average American girl between the ages of three to 1 1 , grows up surrounded by the Barbie body image. Not every child is influenced by the toys they play with; but young children can be easily influenced, especially by their toys.
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Toys are designed to allow children to practice for roles they will take on as adults; that's why housekeeping toys, doctor kits, toy pots and pans, and baby dolls were manufactured. Through play, children learn about the world and their place in it. What do Barbie's teach children about the world? They teach children that is it desirable to be extremely thin, and to strive for an unrealistic body image. Research done by the AND show that 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.
The AND also shows, that the mortality rate associated with anorexia nervous is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all causes of death for females 15-24 years old. Remember; these young women likely played with Barbie dolls, multiple Barbie's around these young ages. Not only can the media stir up feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and depression; but so can an unrealistically proportioned doll, that is portraying to adolescence what women should be.
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