The media around us is filled with unrealistic images and standards of beauty. Beauty standards that we see flashed in advertising, film, TV, internet and other media include lighter skin, hourglass figure, blonde, anorexic female with a pout, while the real average woman is completely ignored in these representations of women on media, so much so that even celebrity images are photoshoped to be close to the ideal that is being propagated through these images.
Clearly the message is “You Are Imperfect.”
“The society expects you to enhance your attractiveness.”
The unfortunate result of projection of this hyper-reality is that these ideals / standards of beauty have been widely accepted by females worldwide. So who trains the eye of the beholder?
Western nations (predominantly US) to export certain ideals and standards of ‘beauty’ which then go on to influence the perceptions and social civilizations that are at the receiving end. The profit orientation of media industry and its dependence on advertising for revenue makes it vulnerable to control by advertisers. Advertisers may exert control over the media by biasing content, selective projection or overemphasizing certain events, issues & values.
The underlying agenda of the global beauty and fashion industry for establishing a false consciousness in order to expand markets for their products geographically, promote consumerism and influence the target market in favor of buying their products.
The perception of beauty so imported from the West is distorted, because the global media around us is filled with images of unrealistic ideas of beauty, that are unattainable and an average woman is not represented in these images. The global beauty and fashion industry thrives on a the consumers’ dissatisfaction with current self-image and boosts the sale of these beauty enhancing & products and services which women are supposed to consume blindly in order to achieve a certain unattainable standard of ‘beauty’. Even ‘Barbie’ by Mattel Corp. is a part of the same agenda. Physically perfect hourglass figure- created as an epitome of beauty and desirability.
Apart from drilling an unrealistic standard of what beauty & sexy ought to be, to impressionable young girls, they are taught early on that they are objects of male desire. Barbie is shown as the ‘normal’ and everyone else fits the description of ‘other’. Defines ethnicity as ‘other than white’. Barbie supports the American version of good/ virtue – the standard against all others are measured. Barbie is a symbol of consumerism as she’s shown to have everything from clothes, makeup, accessories, to pets, offspring, careers and Ken. Barbie is everything and can have everything, but never is she sad or poor.
This is a conscious effort to teach children certain ideals of beauty, lifestyle choices, Americanism and goodness as termed by Shirley R Steinberg & Joe L. Kincheloe in the article “Kinderculture – The Corporate Construction of Childhood”.