While several companies feed into the false depictions of women in the media, others have addressed the issues at hand and have steered clear. Take Dove, as an example. The article, “Performing Beauty: Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign” discusses Dove’s unique marketing technique that celebrates women in their natural form, “‘Real’ beauty according to Dove means various shapes and sizes-flaws and all-and is the key to rebranding, rebuilding women’s self-esteem, and redefining beauty standards” (2009). Central to this campaign are unaltered, untouched, pictures of normal looking females. This contrasts with the American ideal of beauty, which has been morphed by the media to mean super skinny, super tall, and super blonde. By advertising what is natural, Dove hopes to redefine beauty rules and change the ways that the media negatively impacts young women. This idea is outlined on their website and in several other articles in which the company has made goals to ‘broaden beauty standards for future generations.’
In this study, Jennifer Millard, from the University of Saskatchewan, interviews sixteen females ranging the ages from fifteen to early fifty. In her analysis of these conversations, she finds that the Dove campaign to be effective, “First, the advertisements provide a means to join the fight against impossible standards/ Second, the regular features of the real people models help viewers feel better about their own physical appearance and self image. Third, the advertisements generated a discussion that allows participants to appear as intelligent consumers and critics of mass media without stepping out of the bounds of political correctness” (2009).
While some may argue that this is just a ploy to further sell their objects, it is not one that should be looked down upon. Yes, this marketing strategy is unique and has caused an increase in sales, however, these sales have helped support the well being and good nature of the company’s mission. Is it so wrong to profit off of the encouragement of self-esteem? Overall, this article characterizes a successful solution to a national epidemic. Government could also play a role here. They could encourage companies with benevolent advertising campaigns like this through the issuing of subsidies and other promotions of this sort. Although this study is based off of sixteen Canadian individuals, it does a good job of going into in depth conversation, therefore stimulating ideas about the campaign. It also comes from a graduate student, and is a published scholarly source.
Millard, Jennifer. “Performing Beauty: Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign.” Symbolic Interaction: 146-68. Print.
The American Psychological Association has found that there is a prevalent and strong association between media exposure and body shaming. In a Meta Analysis of experimental and correlational studies conducted by University of Michigan’s L. Monique Ward and University of Wisconsin’s Shelly Grabe, several conclusions supporting this were found. The study, called The Role of the Media in Body Image Concerns Among Women, was conducted on the beliefs that, “It is believed that the media’s consistent depiction of a thin ideal leads women to see this ideal as normative, expected, and central to attractiveness. However, because media presentations of women’s bodies are so skewed, showcasing an ideal that is out of reach to most, adopting this reality may lead to decreased satisfaction with one’s own body” (2008).
This study examined previous studies and broke down the media’s affect on body image into four separate categories including (a) body dissatisfaction (b) body self consciousness/objectification, (c) internalization of the thin ideal and drive for thinness and (d) eating behaviors and beliefs. In all of the cases listed above, articles and studies were categorized into one of the above and were analyzed on their findings. For each category, difference, confidence intervals, and p-values showed support that exposure to mass media ‘depicting the thin ideal body is related to women’s vulnerability to disturbances related to body image” (2008). In several instances, it is important to note that this study found that these negative influences have been increasing in the 2000s compared to the 1990s, and that ideal images of body weight are becoming thinner and thinner with time.
This meta analysis provides me with sufficient and pertinent information because it allows me to draw on reasoning for increased policy in media regulation. These numbers provide broad and well rounded statistics that summarize the impact of media on body image with concrete numbers. Even more, because this Meta Analysis comes from the American Psychological Associate, it’s credibility is valid. More, the Meta Analysis is encompassing of many other previous studies, and therefore accounts for many findings and eliminates the error of a narrow viewpoint. However, it is important to note that results were derived for the most part from english speaking white females.
Grabe, Shelly, Janet Shibley Hyde, and L. Monique Ward. “The Role of the Media in Body Image Concerns Among Women: A Meta-Analysis of Experimental and Correlational Studies.” Psychological Bulletin 134.3 (2008): 460-76. Print.
Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida) and Lois Capps (California) have co-sponsored a bill that has come to be known as the Truth in Advertising Bill of 2014 (issued on April, 27, 2014). Formally known as H.R 4341, this bill addresses the fallacies and abuse of the human body in the media. Advertising and the media have for a long time now altered and abused images of humans for commercial use. This has led to many problems, and primarily to a false perception of human perfection. This bill would require the Federal Trade Commission to submit to Congress a report and make decisions on appropriate use of altered images in commerce and advertising.
This bill finds that these altered images can, “Create distorted and unrealistic expectations and understandings of appropriate and healthy weight and body image,” leading to “eating disorders among men and women of varying age groups” with a “particularly destructive health effect on children and teenagers” (Sec. 2. Art. 3 and 4). Overall, this is a public health issue that clearly has implications for our nations well-being and needs to be addressed.
Overall, this Bill would require the FTC in addition to the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and the Administrator of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to regulate and reduce the use of photoshopped images in advertising and the media. These methods of control would be largely informed by important stakeholders from the health, business, and consumer sectors.
Congresswomen Capps has voiced her opinion, “Just as with cigarette ads in the past, fashion ads portray a twisted, ideal image for young women,” Capps said. “And they’re vulnerable. As sales go up, body image and confidence drops” (Jezebel, 2014). While many researchers and eating disorder awareness groups have lobbied for this bill, it has also faced some criticism. Dan Jaffe, of the Association of National Advertisers, thinks that the methods of regulation proposed in the bill need to be more specific, “It can’t just be the photoshopping that they go after, it would have to be tied to something specific. Are you just going to say that whenever someone photoshops it’s a per se violation? I think that would be going too far” (2014). Other opponents argue that the bill raises free speech issues and sheds too much negative light on advertising. More opponents go on to say that previous laws already address deceptive and untruthful ads.
Overall, this Bill directly addresses my area of interest in my White Paper. While addressing a governmental audience, this bill raises valid and debatable arguments for and against the further regulation of photoshop in the media. In my paper, I will argue in favor of governmental action and bills like the H.R. 4341. This will help develop my further goal of addressing the larger public health issues and unrealistic depictions of the human body in the media.
I obtained this information from the Bill itself, in addition to the reliable sources of Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s website. Overall, no one really argues against regulation, what is up for debate is just how these regulations will be orchestrated.
Truth in Advertising Bill 2014, H.R. 4341, 113th Cong. (2014). Print.
Jezebel, Hillary C. “Congresswomen Introduce Bill to Regulate Overzealous Photoshopping.” Welcome to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Washington, DC Office, 17 Apr. 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.
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Urban Outfitters; The Rebel Child
Lets say J. Crew is the soccer mom of a suburban family. Mrs. Crew is always put together; She buttons her oxfords up high and has a perfectly polished hemline gracing the top of her knees. She is married to Jos. A. Banks, the bread winner, who commutes into the city and returns home for dinner every night. The youngest daughter, named GAP, is a spitting image of her mother. She is the goodie two shoes; a straight A student, varsity tennis player, flute enthusiast, Twilight fanatic, and an avid Taylor Swift lover. There is also an older child. All her life she has been the rebel. She started drinking at age fifteen, threw house parties throughout all of high school, dated a punk rock guitar player, and has a nose ring. She enjoys painting and photography, listening to indie records, and thrifting through vintage stores. Tired of being tied down in her small town, she is now headed to NYU to pursue a degree at the Tisch School of Performing arts. Here, she hopes to find her niche in the hipster neighborhoods of Soho and Greenwich Village. Her name is Urban Outfitters. Continue reading Urban Outfitters; The Rebel Child
During the final weeks of my senior year of high school, I did lots of research into the history of my name. I intended on making a book that traced through each generation of my Grandad’s father figures. What I found was super interesting…Nicholas Danforth immigrated to America from Framingham, England. Continue reading Kendall. Elizabeth. Danforth
Lets pretend that John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, and the McDonald brothers, Dick and Mac, have gathered together for a round table dinner discussion. In a pot-luck fashion, they have each brought different dishes to the gathering… Continue reading John Mackey versus the McDonald Brothers
This is not the first time I have come across a question like this. Throughout my education, I have answered this question many times, but have never felt fully satisfied with my answer. In the past, I have felt obligated to provide answers that include people like Rosa Parks, F.D.R, and Abraham Lincoln. While surely dinners with these individuals would be monumental, I feel obligated to pick someone who I feel more of a personal connection too.
Continue reading Seane Corn; Mindful Living