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Ana Paula Lisboa

[ Ana Paula Lisboa ]   Veja o Perfil Completo deste Colunista
Estuda Comunicação Social, adora escrever e acredita na comunicação como formuladora de conceitos.


Rethinking the image of women

As people are surrounded by the media and its pictures, it is essential to think of what they can make with us and our minds. Are women showed in advertising realistic and reachableare they just false and idealized stereotypes? This article talks about these questions, presents differences between male and female images and their consequences, with focus on the feminine part.  

First of all, it is important to notice that gender and the power relation between them are not naturallybiologically given, they are constructs by societies and cultures. In our civilization, men dominate women since prehistoric times and this control has effects until the current days. Toys and fairy tales clarify, already during childhood, what are the roles and aims for each sex. In addition, the media preaches that females should please the male audience by presenting, for example, models made only to attract guys.

Messages that promote seduction and care of body appear in many places. Observing them, it is perceptible that the main difference between the masculine and the feminine image is that, women seduce essentially with appearance (beauty and sexy bodies), whereas men can seduce with appearance and also with status (i.e. expensive cars and watches). As a result, women are objectives of desire for the male audience and identifier subjects for the female audience.

Images of women in the media can change through the times. In the past, ladies were showed with more weight and these pictures were more designed to the mother and housewife lifestyle. During the decades, the image of women in public changed in ways that they became thinner, their clothing got shorter and they are mainly required to focus on looking good. Big examples of changing standards of beauty are Marilyn Monroe (size 42-44), considered sexy in the 1950s, and the super thin model Twiggy, that spread thinness as a fashion pattern in the 1960’s.  

Influenced by the media, ladies wish to have the perfect look and this only can result in frustration. The growth of plastic surgery, depression and eating disorders, especially among female, are some results of the excessive search for beauty. One of the biggest problems is that models and actresses don not look in real life the same way they do in ads, movies, magazines and TV shows. The ‘perfect woman’ is only possible through computer programs of image edition, such as Adobe Photoshop. 

The view of women in the media ends up being reduced to stereotypes that do not reveal the actual content; they are reduced to bodies and faces, in many cases, even to themselves. Females in the media constantly search for beauty and so do women in real life. No matter how beautiful a woman is, almost always, she wants to look better. We need to rethink our attitudes concerning media, since the perfect pattern of body is not ever accessible. Only because it is not as the ones showed in the advertisings, are our bodies really inferior? Is it really worthy to attempt to achieve the ‘ideal beauty’?

Co-author:Sonja Mörler 

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