Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women

This video is going around right now, and it's an incredibly important one for us to watch because it emphasizes the point that our obsession with thinness is a public health problem.

I could not agree more.

But though I think this speaker means that our obsession with thinness is a public health problem because it leads to eating disorders and body dysmorphia (something I believe all American women have), I also think it's a public health problem because it leads to obesity.

Sometimes it feels like we have two choices in our country—be thin or be fat. Since being thin in this country means having almost no body fat, which is impossible for those of us who are genetically inclined to be curvy, it's easy to give up and say, if I can't be thin, I might as well eat whatever I want.

Our obsession with thinness also leads to obesity because it causes us to embrace unhealthy crash diets that nearly always—90% of the time—cause us to gain back more weight than we lost.

Two celebrities are quoted as having spoken out about the problem of making women look flawless to the point of being unreal in the media: Cindy Crawford and Kate Winslet.

Crawford (pictured above in before and after shots) says she wishes she looked like Cindy Crawford, indicating that she doesn't look like the Crawford we see featured in magazines and on television.

And about the magazine cover above, Kate Winslet said not only that GQ trimmed her thighs by a third without her permission (the photo on the right is the original), she also says, "I don't look like that, and I don't desire to look like that."

Bravo, Kate.

(And what I don't get is what was wrong with her legs in the original photo???)

The real question is why don't more celebrities have a problem with this? Why aren't they all putting their foot down on this issue? Why aren't they demanding to be depicted in more accurate ways since we all know that it hurts all women in the long run?

I suppose they're afraid that if they speak out, their careers will be over. And it's certainly true that Crawford and Winslet are two of only a handful of untouchable women in the media, so I admire their desire to use that power to speak out. But what about Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon? Sandra Bullock and Cameron Diaz? Angelina Jolie? Why aren't these women speaking out and trying to combat this problem?

If they are and I've missed it, I'd love to hear about it. If not, it's time to step up, girls.

No comments:

Post a Comment