Media’s effect of pressure on Women and our society

The conformities that women feel they must abide by in our society stem mainly from the media. This has grown to be a bigger problem than many realise. It is often too easy for the impact that our culture and media has on how we feel about ourselves, in particular, our bodies, to go unnoticed. We see perfect, airbrushed women everywhere, on the TV, in magazines, in newspapers, street advertisements, food advertisements. Magazines are one of the worst to teach women “what to think and what to do about themselves’ and their relationships.” (Wilkinson) “women’s magazines provide what can be described as “mirror images” for women, i.e. public images of femininity against which women, measure themselves, men judge women, and which are, therefore, formative in actually shaping women’s experiences. (Winship,1983)” (Wilkinson) We’re bombarded with so many perfect female images that we think this perfect beauty is the norm. Why is this happening? One answer might be consumerism.

Women need to be aware that something else is going on behind the scenes of these millions of perfect, women advertisements. Businesses and the economy are earning millions from womens insecurities about their bodies. The diet industries, the beauty industries and retail industries for example focus on our lack of confidence. They target those insecurities with ideas of empowerment and make millions from it. One because we are silly to believe that these products/ and or clothes will make us look better, and two because we’re likely to buy them if everyone else is. The diet industry alone is worth 2 billion pounds in the UK.

We’re often encouraged to buy these beauty products as a way of telling ourselves “because you’re worth it”, go on treat yourself. The L’Oreal Paris campaign for example, this is their slogan! The campaign is an aim to celebrate women. Its most well known for their hair products and hair care. One of their ambassadors who stands out to me is Eva Longoria. I can distinctly remember her featured in their hair campaigns as seen below:

eva longoria hair camp

Many women will be encouraged to buy this hair colour or product due to Eva Longoria being the model, they believe their hair will look like hers if they buy the product.

Women are forced to think that these millions of products will some how improve their image or improve their life. We are encouraged to buy through the mass media images we are constantly seeing. Another massive downfall is the millions of women who actually buy these advertised products, this creates a society norm where all women want to buy the product as they don’t want to be the one left out. Many Women are so insecure about their bodies which makes them more likely to buy beauty products, new clothes, and diet aids, adding to the wealth of the economy. “a female sex which is at best unconfident, and at worst incompetent, “needs” or “wants” to be instructed, rehearsed or brought up to date on the arts and skills of feminity, while a more powerful and confident male sex already “knows” everything there is to know about the business of being masculine. (Ferguson, 1983)” (Wilkinson) This makes me realise that one of the many reasons the male beauty economy is not as women’s is because the male is more confident. They believe they’re more powerful than products, they know all about themselves, they needn’t be ‘instructed’ and assisted or given confidence like women.

 

What is media pressure?

“‘Media pressure’ means that the media, in all of their forms, can pressure or influence our actions, beliefs, values, opinions and ideas. For many people, their ideas about the world are based on what they see, hear or read in the media. The media have a huge impact on how we see the world, on our socialisation, development, opinions, values, and knowledge. It is easy to become overwhelmed by information and messages we receive through the media. The media can affect us even though we often don’t even realise it is happening. For example, media influence our decisions about what products we buy, and sometimes as a result we buy things that we don’t need. You can’t escape media messages these days, but you can become better at choosing which messages to take on board. You can be Media Smart.” (Young Adult Help, 2014)

“Advertising aimed at women works by lowering our self-esteem. If it flatters our self-esteem, it is not effective.” (Pg 276, Wolf) 

 

Here the model Keeley Hazell criticises media pressure on women, and on herself as part of working as a model whilst she talks to Newsbeat.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/20501665

To quote Keeley from the video: “I have a problem with media, they do put images of girls thats just so unachievable. Like even the models look so different in real life than they do in an image. It’s like you’re striving for a perfection that is never gonna happen. So I do think that it should be, set of, more normal looking people at their best, because I think that everybody aims to look their best. But having an image that you’re just never gonna get, is like, you know, you’re like ‘this model has perfect skin, she’s so skinny’. Thats not possible. Doesn’t exist.”

 

Hopefully after reading this blog post, some women may think about what they’re buying and whether they’re buying it for the right reasons. Don’t feel pressured. This is what I want to get across in my assignment, women shouldn’t feel pressured to have their hair like other women in the society. Don’t be embarrassed of your natural hair, even if its grey! But on the other hand, if you want your hair to be different, to stand out, then do that too. Women shouldn’t feel pressured to look a certain way or look like everyone else, just take the time to think it through. Think about the thousands of pounds per year you spend on having your hair done for example! You could go on multiple holidays for that! The same goes for the diet industry. Home remedies are much cheaper, you don’t even have to go to the gym these days, you can do it all at home.

 

 

References:

Newsbeat (2012) Model Keeley Hazell criticises media pressure on women [online]

available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/20501665 [24th February 2015]

 

Young Adult Help (2014) Media Pressure [online] available from http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=240&np=300&id=2059 [24th February 2015]

 

Willardt, K (2013) L’Oreal Advertisment Preference Line [online] available from http://fashionindustryarchive.com/Advertisement/LOreal-Advertisement-Preference-Line-FW-2013-14-Eve-Lonovia-Douzten-Kores-Bianca-Balt/ [26th February 2015]

Wilkinson, S (1986) Feminist Social Psychology. Milton Keynes: Open University Press

Wolf, N. (2007) The Beauty Myth: how images of beauty are used against women. London: Vintage, 1991

 

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