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Advertisements in fashion have a significantly negative affect on women’s self-esteem and body image. Women, especially young women take a second look at themselves and may feel insecure about their appearance when flipping through a magazine filled with advertisements. When we look at advertisements today, we see models that are perfectly thin. There are two companies whose ads stand out especially for the thinness of the models. Versace advertisements stand out because the models are so skinny that it becomes more than just a product. Victoria’s Secret models in their advertisements are also too perfect that it sets a standard for being sexy and beautiful.
In one particular Versace ad, there is a model wearing a white dress that is standing in a way that makes her appear ultra thin. She is standing in front of a sea blue background that makes her white dress pop even more. She is also holding a Versace bag and wearing a ring. She looks distressed but as a high fashion model, this is the standard for Versace. She looks extremely tall, wearing very high heels, and her body appears almost deformed. This is a trend in Versace ads because that’s what the company considers beauty. This may be just an advertisement, but it also does so much more. It sends a message to young girls that looking like a model is the ideal way to e considered beautiful.
When it comes to advertising, women are portrayed in a way that makes the public feel less perfect. Media set a standard for beauty that is beyond natural or even attainable to most young women. Being surrounded by all these advertisements makes young women emotionally and physically confused about their bodies. Young girls are usually told it matters who you are on the inside, not the outside. This notion has less value as time goes on because media says otherwise. There is no way of escaping what media considers beautiful. Advertisements are found everywhere you turn, magazines, newspapers, bus-stops, billboards and especially on television. Advertisements for make-up and other beauty products contain the most artificial concept of beauty.
In Victoria’s Secret advertisements, the models are not as odd as Versace’s, but they are extremely thin. They have what most would consider perfect bodies. Since they are known for advertising lingerie, there are standards for how a model should look. Many young women compare themselves to these models even though they don’t get the special beauty treatments that models usually get. Even though pictures are perfected on the computer, women still try to picture themselves as models. It is especially hard because of the amount of ads distributed in all directions.
Even though these advertisements may be entertaining for men to look at, women take so much more from advertising. Women get the idea that if they look like a model, men will find them more attractive. The main message of these ads is if you want to be beautiful, buy this product. But the hidden messages are within the ad itself; companies see these models as just objects of advertising. The public sees these models as a reflection of the self that they dream to become. The idea is when you buy lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, you feel as sexy as the models appear. Even though this may motivate women to buy the products, it may still make them feel insecure.
According to a study done by researcher Gayle Bessenoff, Ph.D., women became less confident about their bodies after viewing ads containing skinny models. Half of the women got ads of skinny female models advertising clothing. The other half of women got ads for everything else besides clothing that contained no female models. After viewing the ads, the women completed surveys rating various emotions. As a result, the women who viewed the ads of skinny models performed worse on all the surveys. Bessenoff said that “women who already have low opinions of their physical appearance are at an even greater risk for negative effects from media images.” The article goes on to say that these images of women aren’t as original as they appear according to a website called girlpower.gov. Images showed especially in magazines are touched up and the models are airbrushed to flawlessness which results in a perfect depiction of the female body.
An article done by Body Image and Advertising on the healthy place website states that skinny women in advertising can lead to unhealthy behavior in women and young girls. According to the article, “The average woman sees 400 to 600 advertisements per day, and by the time she is 17 years old, she has received over 250,000 commercial messages through the media.” This is a lot of ads aiming at one person. According to the article, 69 percent of girls in a study say that “magazine models influence their idea of the perfect body shape.” It is very unrealistic to think that every woman has the same body type and that every woman can look like the models if they work hard enough. The article also goes on to say that girls who already have body image problems and low self esteem are even more significantly effected by constantly be surrounded by advertisements in fashion and beauty. It states that males are also affected by the images in advertising and also go through body issues to meet up to the “standards” of what is depicted in advertising. Advertising is very powerful and even though many women know that it is unrealistic, others get caught up in the idea of perfection.
Even though advertising has negative effects on women, some say that it also has some good sides to it. According to an article by Mike Howard, women prefer to buy products advertised by thin models. Howard talks about a research done by business professor Jeremy Kees. Kees’ research team came up with a conclusion that women who viewed ads done by skinny women felt bad about their bodies. Even though these women felt bad about their physical appearances, they considered the brands more highly. The second set of women viewed ads done by regular sized women, even though they didn’t feel bad about themselves, they considered these products having a lower value. After the study was completed, women were offered cookies as a thank you for their participation. Surprisingly, the women who viewed skinny models were four times less likely to accept the cookies. The main point of this article depicts that women regard products pitched by thin women more highly and are more likely to purchase them.
Another benefit of thin models in advertising was proven by a research done by the University of Bath in the U.K. The researchers found that two-thirds of the women they interviewed preferred skinny models portrayed in print advertisements over larger sized women. The researchers interviewed 470 female undergraduates. They found that 67 percent of women favored thinner models while only 29 percent favored models of a larger size. The women who favored thin models were also slightly thin themselves and believed that weight can be controlled by dieting or exercise. They tended to think the thinner models were more “elegant”, “interesting”, “likeable” and “pleasant” according to the study. The study resulted in regular women favoring thin models because they can relate to them in some way and think that weight can be controlled. The larger women tended to think that the thinness is a result of the skinny models genetics and their weight cannot be controlled. The size of models also didn’t matter to the larger women.
The responses to some of these articles mostly support the idea that women should be aware of what is presented to them. They should have more knowledge about what s depicted in media.
Although it is proven by some studies that women prefer to see skinny women advertising a product, it doesn’t make them feel better about their bodies. The women may regard the product highly because of a thin woman, but this only benefits the product be advertised. It benefits the companies more than it does the women who are being exposed to such artificial beauty. Advertising promotes the idea that you have to look a certain way to be beautiful. It may not be obvious at first glance, but it sparks something in women that targets their self-esteem, this drives them to purchase these products. Insecurity about women’s bodies lead to depression, eating disorders and other emotional problems. Young women face these problems as a result of this idea of beauty portrayed by media.
It may be surprising to see that women admire the perfect bodies being shown in the media, but the main point is that it hurts them in the end. Insecurity leads to consumption, that’s what drives companies to advertise. It may be seen that companies benefit from the insecurities of women by manipulating their minds to think that they need to look like that so they should purchase that product. It is sad to see that beauty is being defined by media. Women should know that perfection in created on a computer. By accepting this, they can feel better about their bodies and be beautiful through their eyes and not those of the media.
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