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Body Image Obsession

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With the ultrafast development of modern print, on-line and social media, ordinary people are increasingly exposed to their influence. The issue of propaganda of being thin for girls and women and having more muscles for the young boys and men by demonstrating perfect looking celebrities is in the focus of this essay. It is noteworthy, that extensive advertising campaigns creating such an image among the ordinary consumers stimulate the volume of big “market sharks” sales without considering the consequences.

This essay investigates the reasons that force men and women mutilate themselves and endanger their health and the current trends existing in the industry of beauty, in a plastic surgery’s field in particular. It is hard for insecure teenage minds, as well as men and women who wish to keep themselves attractive to the second half of a married couple, to resist established in the modern society stereotypes of ideal body. Moreover, such an influence is pernicious and dangerous for health.

Media greatly affect the minds of unsophisticated consumers who are generally looking for a leader or example to follow. Accustomed to observed skinny body, perfect pore-free face and perfect shapes, women “absorb” artificially created rules and try to implement it sacrificing by their health and wallets. To attract representatives of the other sex, girls overload themselves by unreasoned and unprepared diets as well as excessive physical efforts. It is proven by numerous surveys and scientific studies that “extreme diets can cause health problems, and compulsive workouts can lead to injury” (Mehta & Sparling). Such body obsession is facilitated by TV programs such as Extreme Makeover, The Swan, and I Want a Famous Face showing the magical transformation of women not revealing all the difficulties, dangers and risks inherent to such a process. The authors stated that in 2004 more than 300,000 teenagers age 18 or younger used the services of beauty salons influenced by what they saw in the above mentioned programs.  Rhinoplasty, skin cleaning and scrubbing, otoplasty were the common procedures among them.

Another fact that Mehta and Sparling considered to be said publicly is that all models and stars involved in fashion or movie industries look so great on the cover of magazines and journals only with the help of a sensitive care and diet professionals, personal trainers and Photoshop designers. It is a real fact that with the aim to make the photo of ordinary models perfect, the masters of Photoshop correct their makeup and skin problems and visually reduce their weight. Unfortunately, in our modern world everything is tied to money. Journals sell advertisements, advertisements sell brands, and readers sell their soul.

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Singer describes staggering statistics about popularity of gift certificates for beauty services spreading as a result of massive information and visual attacks undertaken by numerous promotions and TV programs mentioned above. The peculiarity of this trend is that focusing on the established in society ideals of beauty, husbands offer wives to improve some parts of their bodies, wives insist on improving the appearance of their husbands, daughters accuse their mothers in excess of wrinkles. Moreover, the trend of transforming medicine in particular plastic surgery into the easily accessible service industry “may cause patients to overlook the fact that any invasive operation can have complications, including infection, scarring, brain damage (from anesthesia) and death” (Singer).  After altering their appearance, women and men expect that they will be happier, more successful in their personal and professional lives. In part, this is true, but no one has canceled hidden complexes, lack of education and cultural values that can prevent this dream from being real. The most important thing confirmed by the doctors is that the effect of any surgeon invasions will occur only if it is a real desire of the patient but not a view or prejudice of his/her relatives seeking for the unreal beauty.    

Economic effects of appearance 

In his article Seligman draws public attention to that fact that appearance has its economic effects. The author advocates the ugly people suffer in moral and material terms, because of the intentionally designed criteria of beauty in today's media and fashion industry. Prejudice and discrimination by employers addressed to these persons should be reduced as it entails the development of the cult of the predominance of the body over the mind. He states “it is hard to accept that employers in a competitive economy would irrationally persist in paying a premium for beauty -while somehow never noticing that all those lookers were in fact no more intelligent and reliable than the ugly characters being turned down” (Seligman).

Clark put images of men who were obsessed by the desire to look more muscular in the center of the article’s discussion.  The evidence given in the article proved the fact that preoccupation of the body size turns into muscle dysmorphia. The conducted experiment involving men who were influenced by the advertisements with half-naked muscular men and those who observe neutral commercials indicated that there was a correlation between perception of one’s own body and ideal and visual image from the bright billboard pictures. Therefore, artificially created and forcefully proposed for public viewing of muscular sexy men images, cause the desire of men to be like these glossy pictures, thus attracting more female attention. What is most annoying is that studies showed that women did not pay much attention at the muscles. At contrary, they like statistical average men. It is a terrible thing that such a propaganda in the mass media of the male image led to the fact that “in our society, muscularity is commonly associated with masculinity” (Clark).

Common misconception in the true beauty of the celebrities explains the reasons why women and men try to be ideal when in fact it is a fake. Naturally, the obsession with the passion to be ideal is particularly acute in adolescence that is combined with a desire to be the best among peers and look like favored celebrity. But the harm that girls and boys, women and men cause to their health by the unnecessary diet, excessive physical exercise is irreparable.

Filling the pockets of clothes retailers, sport centers and cosmetic clinics with millions of profits at the expense of mutilation of psyche and health of ordinary citizens is inacceptable. Even more terrifying is the fact that the cosmetic field has become the area of trade and speculation. This applies to the distribution of gift certificates for any services on a cosmetic or plastic surgery.

Any person can be affected by numerous attacks of professional advertising agencies on his/her perception of the ideal body parameters. Seeing around ideal images, it is very difficult for a girl of 16 years with a “problem” face, and weighing more than 48 kilogram to feel herself beautiful if it is promoted everywhere that you have to be skinny. Unfortunately, no one brings youth note that all the images they see in magazines and on billboards are processed by wonderful program Photoshop transforming any ordinary person into an ideal image. And it is not a rule that pretty and perfect celebrities smiling to you from the photos enjoy good health.

The most crucial issue that should be established in the minds of ordinary people that the feeling of harmony between the appearance and good inner wellbeing should determine whether a person must change his/her body’s parts. In any case such a decision should not be taken under the influence of untrue, shining face from the cover of a glossy magazine or someone's opinion.

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