The Media and the Self-Image of Women Distorted and unattainable sexist mass images are the inevitable consequences of a social system in which those who are thin and big breasted benefit most. We as a society have created an environment so image obsessed that those with power give approval for being thin and disapproval for being fat, creating a generation of women so self conscious about their body image, that it is affecting their health. In this essay I plan to discuss the inexcusable methods in which the mass media encourages young women to disfigure and mutilate their bodies. When an obsessive media targets and forces young women to hate their bodies it makes them more vulnerable to emulating media stereotypes and prone to compulsive dieting.

'Perfection looks like magic to those who stand aside and do not know any better. The main problem with perfection in a society so obsessed with perception is that it looks too easy.' StatesFlorance Br one a physiologist from Michigan. Media purveyors promote the message that unrealistic thinness equals sexiness and popularity, which equals beauty, success and all the 'good' things in life. Yet, recent interviews have revealed that even glamorous and successful supermodels are afraid of getting fat and what it might do to their careers. In many cases the media has constructed faulty images that suggest that the influence of gender in terms of 'human nature' compel people in the eyes of the media to behave and act in certain stereotypical ways, in turn causing young impressionable women to be wrongfully misled.' Babies aren't born hating their bodies but instead grow up to learn that fat is bad; and thinness will bring you happiness.' states Sarah Stephen in the 1998 article 'Fat is Still a Feminist Issue' These images are being taken to extremes throughout the fashion industry, often displayed by the waif look of hollow cheeks and skeletal bodies.

It has been proven that media images do have a powerful effect on young women today due to the extensive reinforcement on our everyday lives. Everywhere we look we see unattainable images s worming around us, it seems as though it is a fad we can not get away from. Women are all too often described in terms of what they look like, rather than what they think or what they do. A women's accomplishments are often based upon her physical appearance as opposed to her personality or possible mental capability.

It is clearly apparent that stereotypes are not limited to the prejudiced or the bigoted, to racial categories or to the unschooled. It is to be said that those who are considered more " attractive' beginning at a young age are led to believe that women are successful in part by their appearance and monetary value, which leads impressionable young women to believe that prestige go hand in hand. In my opinion I believe that many solicitors of the mass media try to lay on bandages of political correctness but only magnify the on going battle against women and their bodies. Yet, we as a society seem to passively disregard the fact that distorted, unattainable sexist mass images are the product of the constant exploitation of women and their bodies as well as our losing battle against anorexia and amongst young women today. Today's pretty woman represents a new breed, mannequins with sex appeal, as glamorous as movie legends and as famous as the designer clothes they parade.

However, the wide emphasis on beauty and perfection illustrated and promoted everywhere from sitcoms and commercials to magazines and billboards across the nation is only a small reflection of society's constant obsession with image and outer beauty. According to the narrow-minded society we live in, there just doesn't seem to be a limit on how beautiful one can become.