Women have been subjected to defining beauty through mass media.

The definition of beauty is as follows:

beauty  (ˈbjuːtɪ)

—  , pl -ties

1. the combination of all the qualities of a person or thing that delight the senses and please the mind

2. a very attractive and well-formed girl or woman

Yet who is to decide what an attractive and well formed girl or woman entail?  Mass media in the 20 and 21st century have undertook this task.  As a result many women and young girls have struggled with this concept of beauty as they try to mold into a form that is “beautiful”.  In today’s world there are many campaigns which are fighting against this notion that in order to be beautiful your body mass index must be 0, your hair pin straight, your face covered in make up, and your clothes formed to show off your best attributes of your hour glass figure, flawless skin, and in your 20’s.  Yet it is evident that through out time this was not the only definition of beauty.  Beauty has continuously been packaged and spit out at the consumer society to be bought, via fashionable dress, make up looks, and hair looks as well as body types.

“The fickleness of fashion is another consideration when it comes to beauty standards. In the 1920s, the androgynous look among women, with short hair, and clothing that did not emphasize womanly curves, was all the rage. But in other eras, such as the 1950s and 1960s, curves were coveted, and the classic hourglass figure was highly prized. In the 1980s, women wore mannish suits with padded shoulders, again de-emphasizing curves, but these soon became passé, and women once again celebrated their womanly figures.”

In order to appeal to different body types and beauties of America Dove sought to create a campaign “for real beauty”  which lead to a “For a few years, the ads were an undeniable success. In the first year of the campaign, Dove sales increased by 6% percent, leading to a a $500 million profit for the company”.  However the campaign recently ended as their advertisements seeking these natural women were exploited to show how images of beauty are still instilled by their ironic usage of putting the phrase Real Women  in quotes.

In my paper I will aim to discuss the effects of media on advertisements and the attempts to dispel these stereotypes on the image of beauty.

What do you think of when you think of beauty?

Do you believe that “Real Beauty Campaigns” can be effective in changing peoples perception of beauty? Is it possible to change such perceptions?

How does this notion of an unrealistic beauty become represented in society?


One comment

  1. christinaroselane

    When I think of beauty, I think about more than just the aesthetics of a person. Their bone structure may be symmetrical and their skin may be glowing, but if they are not loving and caring individuals, I don’t really perceive them as beautiful. Perception is supposed to be an individuals view on the world they live in, yet in today’s consumer society, individual perceptions are threatened by the ideology that in today’s world, you have to be flawless on the outside in order to be beautiful and noticed.
    It is hard for Campaigns such as the “Real Beauty Campaigns” to change the stigma of artificial beauty on society. When you look at a magazine or an advertisement for a bra, they only use the skinniest, most “attractive” models that are only hired because of their looks. Perhaps if women who were successful on a societal or economical level, (ie. they aren’t just walking barbies but they actually make a difference in the world) were used in ads and in magazines, this stigma can be broken down and perceptions can change.

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