Today’s media is keen on making us believe what they want us to believe and implying many concepts. Among these is the concept of beauty. Over the years what is to be considered beautiful was always defined. In the modern world this has its positive and negative sides. On the one hand, beautiful is healthy. This means that media quite often forces people to take better care of themselves, do more sport, eat right and lead a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, there are those who take it too far and we end up facing problems like anorexia. Quite often the media is to blame. A beautiful person on TV may not always be a healthy one. Models are getting thinner and thinner and so young girls are doing all they can to be match the set standard. When such a state cannot be reached, self esteem falls quite a low. When talking about the concept of beauty in the modern world one must remember that the idea of what is to be considered beautiful developed over the years, changed into a business strategy with the help of the industry, which by now is focused only on earning money and not carrying about the dangerous effects that their advertisements can have on the young generation.
The image of a female ideal has changed over the years. For example, skinny body types were not always in fashion. When looking at Renaissance painting one can’t but notice that artists were proclaiming quite plump women and portraying them as beauty queens. While “women in the court of Louis XVI drew blue veins on their neck and shoulders” to emphasize their noble blood (Newman, 2012). These ideals may vary from culture to culture as well. Chinese men used to prefer women with small feet while in other countries this was unimportant. Regardless, Chinese women wore shoes of smaller sized and did everything possible to stop their feet from growing. This consequently leads to health problems. Nevertheless, there are those always ready to make money from everything.
After the Second World War the economies of most European countries were struggling to gain strength. However, it was the French economy, which is greatly influenced by beauty products, that was able to make a quick recovery. Whatever the times, women want to look attractive. The beauty industry of today includes not only make-up. It is all starting from clothing, perfumes, diets and fitness clubs. One can’t but agree that this takes up a large sector of the economy and has a great influence on the country’s finances. Consequently, beauty has truly become a business worth investing in. Today’s beauty ideal is the perfect setting for fitness clubs, diets and all kinds of make-up.
Seeing skinny models with perfect skin and perfect everything puts a lot of pressure on a young girl who wants to be considered pretty. This is done from a very young age even with the help of such toys as dolls. Not everyone knows that the beauty portrayed through the media is often not real. In most cases, the images of perfection that we see are simply the work of a professional computer artist, who knows what to change and how to change it. “All media images and messages are constructions. They are not reflections of reality” (PBS, 2003). This creates a false image of beauty. Even the celebrated Barbie cannot be real. “A real life Barbie would simply fall over” (Winterman, 2009). Unable to reach the unreachable, many girls become depressed and lose their self-esteem. Some don’t regain it even when they grow up and turn to whichever solution they may find – diet pills, beauty products and plastic surgery.
The perception of beauty depends on the times and the culture. It is an inseparable part of the modern economy but at the same time the cause of many problems faced by young girls of today. On the other side, studies have shown that babies too have a perception of beauty and it cannot already be influenced by the media and so is considered innate. “The balance of evidence indicates that beauty is decided not in the eye of the beholder, but might instead be part of universal human” (Kanazawa, 2008). Perhaps there is a general idea of what is beautiful, but perhaps “beauty is not so much in the eye, ass in the heart, of the beholder (Newman, 2012). Because whatever a face may be, it will be seen as the most beautiful by the one in love with it.
1. Satoshi Kanazawa (April 27, 2008). All stereotypes are true, exceptII “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200804/all-stereotypes-are-true-except-ii-beauty-is-in-the-eye-th
2. Denise Winterman (March 6, 2009). What would a real life Barbie look like? Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7920962.stm
3. PBS (2003) The Media’s Influence. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/perfectillusions/eatingdisorders/preventing_media.html
4. Cathy Newman (March 26, 2012). The Enigma of Beauty. Retrieved from http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-body/enigma-beauty/#page=1
5. Charles Feng (December 6, 2002). Looking Good: They Psychology and Biology of Beauty. Retrieved from http://www.jyi.org/volumes/volume6/issue6/features/feng.html
6. J.Cowley (June 2, 1996). The Biology of Beauty. Retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/1996/06/02/the-biology-of-beauty.html