Belle and Kings' presentation was one of my favorites so far this semester. The conversation of women in media and what it all means and where the lines all lay always provokes me and continually leaves me speechless. It's astonishing to me how society has the ability to create this ideal woman that, in reality, doesn't even exist. The women we see in advertisements are often compiled of various body parts of different women and pieced together like some kind of Frankenstein. If not compiled of various images, the ad is, more often than not, photoshopped to the point where the model cannot even recognize themselves. This ideal is impossible to reach. These topics, in addition to the presentation, were also mentioned in Killing Us Softly Volume 4 where Jean Kilbourne decodes advertisements and discusses the struggles young women, and more recently young men, face as they attempt to achieve these ridiculous ideals.
Advertising female ideals is in no way new. Artists have always depicted female ideals of their time and used women as their focus. Many artists have exploited women, and their bodies, and whatever stereotypes flooded their decade. These images reflected how women should behave, act, and most importantly, look. During her presentation, Belle showed us various artistic works that we analyzed and discussed.
However, the issue with this current decade, is that we have the ability to manipulate what were once real photos. Therefore, when girls and women view these advertisements on TV, billboards, magazines, and their computers, they believe those attributes are genuinely achievable. They believe it's possible for a woman's waist to be smaller than her head, and that she can somehow naturally be skinny and retain large breasts. Advertising companies feed off of this insecurity in order to sell their products; with secure women, comes less profit for them. Because of all of this, it's no surprise that eating disorders and depression are so common in women today. We are told, and shown, that we are not good enough and constantly need to be better. Each woman in society has to somehow be unachievably perfect, gorgeous, skinny, big breasted, and maybe smart.
At this point, it's hard for women, even older women, to be comfortable with themselves and their bodies. Somehow we let society, and the men and women in it, control how we feel about ourselves. For this issue to genuinely stop, advertising companies need to first stop distorting the bodies of women and telling others that this is somehow achievable; then, maybe, women will be able to accept themselves for who they are.