Body Image and the Media have been around for only a few centuries. Thin was not always in! Below I have summarized a brief history.
The moving printing press was only invented in the mid 1400’s, so before then there was no television, commercials or anything of that nature. However, there were still societal ideals for the woman’s body, which was determined by economics, religion, culture and social rule. For example, because survival was not easy to come by in the early centuries, fat abdomens and large breasts were praised as they signified that the women had a higher chance of fertility and showed a sign of prosperity since food was scarce.
The fashion image appears on the scene in the 1800’s and our western society is exposed to fashion magazines and newspapers, along with the influence of the film and television industry. The “American idol” is broadcast for everyone to see and becomes an obsession. By this time, our western world has lots of access to food and no longer has survival top of mind, leaving room for more leisurely topics such as fashion.
By the 1970’s just about every household owns at least one television and it soon becomes the norm for families to watch television on a daily basis. It’s also around this time that “Thin is in” as the British runway model, Twiggy, hits the scene. No longer is the voluptuous figures of Marilyn Monroe and her counterparts praised, but a slimmer toned body is the ideal.
Over the past several decades, numerous studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between body image and the media. Several testimonies of women say that they feel worse after consuming media associated with body image. Unfortunately, with time we notice that the body image statistics are getting worse as more women fall prey to having a negative body image, which often leads to disordered eating.
My suggestion is to remember that the ideal body image is just that…an idea. This ideal will shape overtime and be different depending on the cultures economic state. Who knows? Maybe in the next twenty years the voluptuous body will be in again. Until then, learn to embrace your body and love yourself.
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