The Invisible Voice: The Perfect Woman

A "Barbie" is the perfect woman. Photo Credit / Amy Lukac
A "Barbie" is the perfect woman. Photo Credit / Amy Lukac

A “Barbie” is the perfect woman.
Photo Credit / Amy Lukac

By Brittany Barnes
SC Staff Writer

Throughout elementary and middle school I struggled with my weight. By the time I was 9-years-old I weighed 150 pounds. I was told by my doctor that I was obese.

I was not bullied in school but I was teased and ridiculed by my family.

A man my mom dated from the time I was 10 to 13-yearsold referred to me as “the fat one.”

I came home to people that I believed hated me. I isolated myself in my room and cried sometimes. I hated my body and I hated my siblings for making fun of me.

I began to think about how I could lose weight. I thought maybe if I didn’t eat so much then I could lose weight.

I would go a whole day without eating or only eating once a day. I once went a full 2 days only drinking water and eating crackers.

I had this image of how I wanted to look. I based this on my sister’s size but mostly off of what I had seen on TV. There were no fat girls on TV. I knew that there had to be something wrong with me.

Body dissatisfaction is something that most teenage girls experience.

A study done by Kristen E. Van Vonderen and William Kinnally titled “Media Effects on Body Image” (2012) deals with the connection between body image and media usage.

Vonderen and Kinnally wrote about the “thin-ideal,” which can be understood by seeing women who are extremely thin in almost every media platform, including movies, television shows, advertisements, and internet sites.

The more women see thin models and actresses, the more they begin to compare themselves to them.

Vonderen and Kinnally asked a group of 200 girls, “When you see models and actors/actresses of your own sex on television, how do you compare yourself to them?”

Sixty-eight percent of the girls responded, “I compare my weight with theirs” and, “When I compare my weight with theirs, I feel that I am overweight.”

How women are viewed on TV not only gives women unrealistic views of how they should be, but it also gives men and even younger children an unrealistic view on how a women should be.

Girls who watch a lot of television may grow up believing that being thin and “pretty” is the only way to get boys to like them or even the only way to make friends.

Women are more likely to believe that something is wrong with their bodies when they compare themselves to the women on TV.

In reality, it’s hard to figure out what the perfect weight or size is for a woman.

Now that I have reached a healthy weight, my family tells me that I am “too skinny” or that I “need to eat a hamburger.”

Glamour Magazine asked a group of 100 men what their ideal female body type is. The two highest responses were “fit but womanly, like Jennifer Lawerence” with 34 percent and “very curvy” with 18 percent.

This shows that the “ideal” has changed.

The New York Times is reporting that we can officially say “Bootylicious” bodies have gone mainstream.

Women may not be dealing with the “thin-ideal” anymore but trying to live up to individuals in the media is still an issue. Women are not only “supposed” to be thin, but they are “supposed” to be thin with curves.

They must control their weight and change their body structure too.

Email Brittany at:
bbarnes1@live.esu.edu

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