Monday, February 8, 2010

Construction of the Female Bodayyy

Although, the "thin ideal" movement has gained the attention of women in Western civilization, specifically the United States of America. The introduction of another campaign has been nipping on the "thin ideal" movements heels. The "Big and Beautiful" movement, has been one of precedency, mandating that all potential members should embrace their "curves". Either way you slice this tomato, women will always fall captive to the emotional toil between, what feels good and what "looks" good. Both campaigns, encourage an extremity, it has even been publicized that the "Big and Beautiful" campaign encourages women to gain weight. I personally believe that one campaign speaks directly to it's clientele, whereas another barks at their members. Both campaigns sprung from the depths of society and the stigmas each places upon their occupying females. The "thin ideal" has been and still is the female standard. This standard stereotypes women in all aspects of life. Your a slob if your overweight, your too thin, your thin and pretty and not taken seriously. The "thin ideal" campaign is the heavy weight, whereas "big and beautiful" is still looking for that ground swell. It wasn't until the twentieth century, females began to embrace such a concept; realizing popular culture showcased an "impossible" conception.
Today's generation are products of both ideals and each find support through popular media. The "thin ideal" has been perpetuated since the invention of broadcast cable, capturing women as a precious commodity, Hollywood generalized on "types" of beauty. Advertising campaigns such as, Dove, have opened their eyes to the "common" female, spending billions on print campaigns celebrating the "girl next store's figure" and the "full figured model". But even though there has been a sudden uprise of this counter-culture, even those women who once embraced the ideal of "bigger is better" have fallen off the train. Such activists as the popular comedian, Mo'nique, have slimmed down. The idea of "big and beautiful" has run it course and the successor is health.
Unfortunately, I feel as if women will always be in plight, not saying theres less of these issues amongst our counterparts; but as long as the media perceives beauty as tangible then the intangible and frankly important qualities comprising a person will never be valued.


  1. Your comment, "The "thin ideal" has been and still is the female standard. This standard stereotypes women in all aspects of life." is very interesting. Today women seem to be classified and very heavily categorized by their weight.

    I wonder if the pressure is more heavy on women because of the correlation between obesity and difficulties with reproductive fertility? "The linked epidemics of obesity and diabetes sweeping the country have reproductive repercussions." From Newsweek article "Fat, Carbs and the Science of Conception"

  2. Maybe the thin ideal is more important for women because of the way romantic interactions stereotypically happen. Men are typically supposed to go up to women and start talking to them or ask them to dance and to make the first move in general. This norm causes looks to be more important for women because thats one of the fast ways for someone to differentiate between different women they don't know.

  3. There's a lot of great sources of information about the "thin ideal" for women. Check out the film Killing Us Softly (you can watch it here)

    And over at my favorite blog, Sociological Images, there are lots of interesting discussions about the diet and exercise industry and body image (do some searching - there's tons of stuff there).