Saturday, March 19, 2011

Body Image: The Nightmare of a Cultural Dream

According to the Feminine Mystique women search for role models in television, movies and magazines because we have so few represented in our male centered society, but the media by and large only provides role models that are based on male sexual fantasy and impossible ideals.

From the very beginning little girls are swept into this media illusion and are taught to idealize and identify with highly feminized and sexualized characters.

They’re even provided with play products to prepare them for the endless quest for perfection that lies ahead.

The role models we see are young, skinny and sexually available.

Staring out of magazines...


...and advertisements.

They aren’t looking back at the women who seek their guidance.

They are presenting themselves to male culture.

And we are supposed to imagine ourselves doing the same.

So that we can be reduced to parts...

for gratification...

...and consumption.

Because in media culture our bodies do not belong to us.

It tells us that we should not have a voice or think for ourselves.

That we should be barely there...

...and be the fantasy

...the object

It tells us that as long as we follow these simple rules, there’s no wrong way to do it.
It’s ok to be stupid...


and debased.

But the cultural fantasy becomes our nightmare, because we internalize the contradictions and blame ourselves….

And then... just like we've been taught, we go out and buy products
to take our pain away.

We believe that through awareness, education and participating in the resistance against these messages we can begin to shape our culture instead of letting it shape us. One resource which strives to raise awareness about the media's assault on women can be found at


  1. I agree 100%
    In the media our bodies definitely don't belong to us. Men seemed to be put in the position to judge us and approve of us, while we have for the most part been accommodating, and even in agreement with them. We wear the high heels and the make-up for leverage (I've done it) and we have been expendable and sometimes so nice that we are misunderstood as dumb. I, for one am really tired of it. WE are more than parts. Without women to suffer through child birth men would not be here. They have Mothers and sisters and daughters and need to be chivalrous and respectful to us.Mothers should teach their sons how to treat women and we need to treat each other better. If we all ban together we will be stronger and we will overcome the obstacles put in our way.

  2. Its amazing that women are a huge part of the reason advertising such as this works. The media creates insecurities in us. They tell us there's something wrong with the way we walk,the way we talk, the way we wale up looking. They tell us are our noses are too big, our lips too small and are breasts not quite perfect, and we devour this message.We learn that we are not beautiful as ourselves, and your advertisements are spot on. When did we as women become the size of our feet or the color of our hair?