Archive for Media Monday

What’s Less Isn’t Always More

Eating disorders affect over 30 million Americans…200,000 of these are in the state of MN.

The Emily Program Foundation shares a number of statistics, like the one above, demonstrating the profound impact that eating disorders have on people. The Foundation has also shared the most common behavior that will lead to an eating disorder is dieting. 25% of American men and 45% of American women are on a diet on any given day. There is nothing wrong with wanting to eat nutritionally or consume a healthy proportion. However, it turns dangerous, fatal at times, when this goal becomes a fixation to lose weight, feeding into a $40 billion dollar industry that tells people they are not enough. Articles like 50 Things Your Doctor Wishes You Knew About Losing Weight from Reader’s Digest neglects the fact that everyone is different, and weight is not always directly correlated with health.

This article perpetuates a negative view of being “overweight”, clearly emphasizing the number on a scale, rather than focusing on how a person can be healthy regardless of weight. Remember, dieting is the most common behavior to lead to an eating disorder, and one of the main focuses within the article is dieting. One slide actually claims dieting is more important than exercise, which ignores the necessity of a holistic approach to sustaining one’s health; especially when exercise will give you those feel-good endorphins, while dieting might lead to feeling crummy about yourself and your relationship with food.

The article shouldn’t have to focus on weight loss and maintenance to offer ways to be healthier. In fact, it mentions a number of beneficial habits to maintaining a healthy mind and body. For instance:

  • Eating routinely and not skipping meals for one big meal
  • Getting your thyroid checked (it’s important to get regular checkups as a precaution for more serious health problems regardless of weight)
  • Getting enough sleep and exercise
  • Remembering it’s about progress not perfection.

Only once did the article allude to unhealthy dieting leading to eating disorders, saying that deprivation leads to binging.

While the intention was most likely to promote good health, the article’s focus on weight in controlling one’s lifestyle to lose it isn’t necessarily helpful or healthy either, particularly for those who struggle with personal insecurities. For those of you reading, think about what it means to be healthy. Keep in mind that weight isn’t always indicative of healthy habits, and it especially does not reflect the beauty of an individual. What is more important than weight or dieting, is how you feel! So be sure to get lots of sleep, exercise, eat well, and surround yourself with supportive friends and articles.

Dove Movement For Self-Esteem

dove[1]By Katie Glerum

Many teenage girls in the U.S are faced with media that hurts their self-esteem and this may lead to anxiety about their appearance. The company Dove is taking a stance against this, and is in full swing with its new self-esteem project. Using helpful resources and tools, Dove is giving young girls an opportunity to realize their full potential, and look at their bodies and subsequent self-esteem in a new light. Dove’s website quotes,

“At Dove, we believe no girl should be held back from reaching her full potential. However,anxiety over appearance keeps girls from being their best selves, affecting their health, friendships, and even performance at school. For more than 10 years, we’ve been helping young people with self-esteem education, reaching 17 million of them so far. Join us, and help reach even more.”

With three goals of improving school performance, gaining confidence, and teaching girls to aim towards higher goals, Dove provides resources for teachers, parents, and youth mentors. All three of these groups can participate in creating better self-esteem in teenage girls around the country. It is believed that once these girls have higher self-esteem, they can be their best selves. When they have less appearance anxiety they are truly their best self, leading them to do bigger and better things in the future.

Follow Dove in their journey towards helping young women create higher self-esteem and develop positive body images to achieve amazing things.

 

“White” Wedding

By Agustina Suarez

From a young age girls dream of the “perfect” wedding, and the “perfect” dress. Some women dream of the day when we will get engaged, and then we dream of the excitement of planning for this special day that only comes once in a lifetime. Thank goodness we can rely on the 50 billion dollars a year wedding industry and abundance of media promotions that will help us to create our special day, right? WRONG!

Brides Magazine published by Condé Nast is filled with “perfect” images of women who almost look unreal. Brides Magazine targets both women in general who fantasize over their potential wedding and women who are in the process of planning their weddings. They advertise wedding dresses, accessories, and other miscellaneous wedding items for women to wear on their special day.

2016_bridescom-Runway-April-hayley-paige-wedding-dresses-spring-2017-Large-hayley-paige-wedding-dresses-spring-2017-001.jpg>.

The purpose of this magazine is to sell wedding related products to all types of women. Unfortunately, Brides Magazine idea of all types of women only includes white, skinny females. This magazine is telling its audience that curvy women and/or women of color do not fit a beauty standard of one impossibly thin white female image after another.

Brides Magazine has failed in reaching all of the women in this country with gorgeous bodies that vary in size. A study conducted by The Today Show in 2016 revealed that the average American woman is actually a size 16. In avoiding to market to women above a size two, this magazine has alienated a majority of the women in this country who dream of their perfect wedding day, despite their size.

Not only that, but this magazine has also failed to reach the beautiful women of color who live in this country. After sifting through the pages of Brides Magazine I was shocked to find that there were no 2016_bridescom-Runway-April-j-mendel-wedding-dresses-spring-2017-Large-j-mendel-wedding-dresses-spring-2017-009Latina, Black, or Asian women featured among its pages. This is a misrepresentation of what our society actually looks like. Brides Magazine has created an unrealistic world in which all women are thin and white and all women portray unattainable beauty standards. This magazine goes far beyond bridal beauty. It turns beauty into an impossibility.

In the film Bride Wars (2009), Liv Lerner, played by actress Kate Hudson says, “You don’t alter Vera Wang to fit you. You alter yourself to fit Vera.” This line mirrors the unhealthy “whitewashing,” thin ideal and beauty standards portrayed in Brides Magazine. It is ideas like this that tell women they are not good enough to get married the way they are. Ideas like this encourage women to abandon their true selves and embrace impossible weight and beauty ideals.

The fact of the matter remains though that all women are different shapes, different sizes, and different skin tones and we are all beautiful. We do not need to alter our appearances for a wedding to be perfect. A wedding is supposed to be an event that celebrates the love which two people have created. Love existed before the wedding industry and it will exist after we come together to resist some of its harmful ideas and images.

Questions To Consider

  1. What can Brides Magazine do to appeal to more women?
  1. How can women resist beauty norms put in place by the wedding industry?

Boys To Men

By: Emily Adrian

How often do you hear stories of how women and girls are affected by messages in our media? Probably more frequently than we would like to admit as a society. However, what isn’t mentioned as often is how our male counterparts react to the subliminal messages being sent to them.

For females the message is often times subtracting, losing weight, dieting, etc. We see airbrushed, photo-shopped images of women. These images show women with elongated necks, widened eyes, and trimmed thighs and hips. The message to men, on the other hand, is adding. Take action figures and super heroes for example, which have become the male version of Barbie. 8e4beff5-cf52-4a79-9f0d-63410e8db263-jpgThese figurines are setting unrealistic body dimensions for young boys and set their expectations at an unattainable level. Have you ever watched the beginning of Captain America? The movie starts with Steve Rogers (Captain America) as a “runt” signing up for the military. He shortly after gets chosen to undergo an experiment and is made into what they portray as this macho, muscled, extraordinary man. Obviously, this is fiction, but the instant success Steve Rogers has, and the new found fame under the name Captain America following the transformation still makes an impact on the stigma surrounding male body image. They fail to set a positive role model and hinder the positive development of young males exposed to them. Then when they get older it doesn’t stop.

Magazines, billboards, commercials, and more all show “ripped” men. Men whose abs are practically painted on, muscles that are continuously growing inch by inch in diameter, and a rise in emphasis on manscaping. Some even feel the need to cut out the males faces adding extra emphasis on body appearance. 10641306-abercrombie-and-fitchThis image, being sent out for all to see and women to drool over, negatively affects men’s body image too. This ideal of having “bulk” or “being built” is an unrealistic ideal that has been created by our society. No matter what the age or gender, the constant subliminal messages are inescapable.Both men and women are vulnerable to these messages. Each and every day something new in the media has a hidden message teaching young and old alike that we are not good enough. It is something that everyone feels, and it is hard to fight back. It is no secret that society adds pressure to appearance, just be aware of the fiction that lies within it, and learn from it.

 

Love the Real You: A Movement for Change

Submitted by Emily Adrian

You don’t often see the media preaching natural beauty, but there is a movement that is joining in the fight to change just that. Aerie, a lingerie label, launched a campaign back in 2014 called #AerieReal, encouraging everyone to love the “real you.” This campaign at its start, made a promise, a promise of unretouched ad campaigns. Most recently, a reinforcement of this campaign has been launched further embracing “body positivity” by gathering diverse women of all different shapes and sizes to “share their spark.”

They speak their mission on their website, expressing that,

 

#AerieReal is “not all about flaws or curves. It’s what’s beneath the skin. #AerieReal is about loving the real you. #AerieReal is about empowerment

In 2016, Aerie invited 40 girls to share their spark in hopes to empower others to do the same. These women were made up of Aerie designers, models, bloggers and social fans. Some of these women chosen had never been in a photo-shoot before but proudly posed showing comfortability in their skin. It was a positive example for the movement in encouraging and continuing the push for change.

So often we open our social media pages, or look at magazines, even online shopping websites that tell us how our bodies should look. It puts thoughts into young women’s heads that the way they are isn’t good enough. That because they aren’t like those in the magazines, or online that they aren’t pretty enough, or “healthy” enough. In reality, these images endorsed by ads, social media and magazines aren’t our reality at all. Even men feel the pressures of appearance from our media, and they too suffer. Most of what we see is edited, it’s made to look a certain way, to be an “ideal” that doesn’t exist in itself. It gives a false reality and in doing so can cause an unhealthy impact on physical and mental health.

#AerieReal is refreshing. It is a glimmer of hope in the right direction. It is a promise to show real bodies, real beauty, and real confidence through real women. It is empowering to those who never felt they would be accepted because they were different from what was on the media. This is a movement to redefine beautiful, to redefine confidence, and to understand that HEALTHY looks DIFFERENT on everyone.

Our media is everywhere. Imagine what a world it would be if it wasn’t impacted by an “ideal” but instead was accepting of all the beautiful bodies that walk this wonderful earth. Isn’t that a world you would rather live in? Embrace your beauty, embrace what healthy looks like on you. Be comfortable in your own skin, and own it. As stated in the video, “together we will learn to love our real selves and change the world.”