The Power of Personal Image

1401 WORDS

The Power of Personal Image

The Power of

Personal Image

A young woman stands in front of the mirror
and is disgusted by the reflection that only she can see. Thunder thighs,
flabby arms, and a pot belly obstruct her view of the beautiful, smart,
and loving woman who stares back at her. This is exactly the type of person
the advertisement agencies and the media prey upon, someone who is self-conscious
and ashamed of her body, someone who is willing to go to any length or
pay any price to have the "perfect" body. In her essay, "Narcissism as

Liberation", Susan Douglas wrote about the power and influence that the
advertisement industry has in America. The advertisement agencies and the
media do not just prey upon self-hating persons, they help to create them.

"When an image is presented..., the way
people look at it is affected by a whole series of learnt assumptions.

Assumptions concerning: Beauty, Truth, Status, Taste, etc. (Berger 53)."

We learn from a very early age all about assumptions concerning body image.

Television commercials and magazine advertisements teach us that we must
look like model and surround ourselves with beautiful things in order to
live a worth while life. We are constantly bombarded with images of"beauty" every time we turn on the television
set or flip through the pages of magazines. Day after day, hour after hour,
minute after minute, our minds are being filled with images of "beautiful
people" endorsing products that they claim will make us beautiful as well.

We believe what these advertisements claim, and we buy the products. After
using the product, we begin to compare ourselves to the so called "beautiful
people" in the advertisement and soon realize that we do not measure up.

We learn from a very early age that it seems our bodies are inferior to
the rest of the world's.

The advertisement industry and the media
have the power to influence our opinion on what we see as being beautiful.

Advertisements dictate what we must look like in order to be accepted in
a world so obsessed with body image. They tell us that it is no longer
sexy to have a normal body with a little fat on your bones. The hour glass
figure is out of style, while the stick figure is in style. In order to
be considered sexy and beautiful in today's world women must have the tanned
body of a half starved adolescent girl. The advertisement industry and
the media created this bizarre body image, and millions of American women
buy into buy.

A hand cream advertisement ran in Good

Housekeeping, a magazine that is mostly read for middle aged housewives.

The advertisement shows the right hand of a young women, probably in her
twenty's, with a freshly done manicure and no wrinkles or veins in sight.

This Neutrogena New Hands cream promises to "visibly reduce the sings of
aging on your hands." This little wonder "reduces the look of age spots"
and gives your hands "a more youthful tone and texture." I can see it now,
all the housewives flipping through the pages of Good Housekeeping trying
to find new recipes, then they come to this advertisement and compare the
youthful hand on the page in the magazine.

We all want to have the "perfect" body,
but we do not want to have to go to the gym and work out for hours to get
it. We want it right away with no work involved. We see an advertisement
in our favorite magazine for a new product called Dior Svelte Prefect.

This new product is "quick, powerful, and effective in controlling cellulite."

It promises visible results in only one week. The advertisement shows one
side of a women's firm buttock and toned thigh. This new product seems
to be the answer to everyone's prayers, it's a miracle in a bottle.

Magazine advertisements are not the only
things that help create inferiority complexes in women, the magazines themselves
do as well. Cosmopolitan, a popular women's magazine, plays a major role
in making women feel insecure about their bodies. Supermodel, Claudia Schiffer,
graced the cover of Cosmopolitan's July 1997 issue. She was photographed
wearing a beautiful, yellow, long dress by Calvin Klein. Her flawless skin,
toned arms, perky breast, and svelte body is thrown in the faces of American
women and mock them. Cosmopolitan magazine puts this super model, and others
like her, on the cover to show it's readers what they should look like
but never will. Cosmopolitan does not just put Claudia Schiffer on the
cover, they also

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