Images of Women in Media
Mass media plays a key role in manufacturing people’s way of thinking. In particular, television, advertisements, magazines, and internet present images of the ideal woman, prompting a number of people to conform to the outlined standards.
This paper explores the connection between advertised media images of women and reality.
The paper examines related internet resources such as popular culture magazines and encyclopedias. Also, interviews are used as a way to have thorough insight into the topic of research. All related resources are presented to fully understand how far stereotypes agree with reality. The obtained results show the subject in a more realistic light, and that people should not chase illusive perfection.
Every day mass media presents many women. They are movie stars, fashion models, TV hostesses. They seem flawless; they look stylish, have perfect hairstyles, glamorous makeup, classy garments, a gleeful mood, and crowds of fans. All these things contribute to the image of an unclouded life and success, the things an ordinary individual cannot reach. These images are actively promoted by media, and the average person holds an opinion that each day is a magnificent gala for these people. Large portions of the population are modeling behavior after advertisements and reality television. However, do all these mass media portrayals match real women’s personalities?
In this work we are going to examine the real world of famous women and see if there is any difference between their experiences and stereotypes introduced by media and reality.
To be able to answer this question it is important to highlight the meaning of the word ‘stereotype’. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines stereotype to be “something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially: a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment”. So, there are general pictures of women, and though they are oversimplified to some extent, they are held as fixed patterns.
The first stereotype that stirs the minds of many women is the absolutely perfect natural look. The reality is a team of stylists work on the image—it includes not only hairstyle, makeup, and clothes, but also motions: turning of the head, position of hands and legs, and posture. A number of famous models and actresses have problems with their skin. The majority of famous beauties have changed the shape of their noses and lips through cosmetic surgery. Also, wrinkle-free young faces are predominantly the result of decorative medical operations.
The second stereotype consists of every door being opened, and every situation being resolved simply because the woman is famous and beautiful. In real life every successful step is the outcome of great efforts. And there is always competition and stress. A number of famous and seemingly successful women, who were icons of their epochs, passed away early because of drugs and antidepressants they took to cope with disappointment and frustration.
The third stereotype is the misconception that masses of money can crack any problem. The reality is money cannot be a solution for everything. For example, relationships with your marriage partner, children, parents, and other people cannot be bought with money. Famous women are normal people and have the same feelings and emotions. Often they struggle for their happy private life. Besides that, famous and seemingly wealthy people often have great debts.
The images of women constructed by mass media—television, newspapers, magazines, internet, and advertisements are more like the ideal characters. They have become stereotypes, which help media to shape the average woman’s sense on what they should be. So, despite the physical, emotional, and spiritual obstacles in the quest to achieve idealized beauty and success, women continue to chase these stereotypes. However, when it comes to reality, there is in fact no ideal woman. What should be appreciated are special personal qualities that make a person unique. Life without any stereotypes is a free and meaningful life.
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