Professor David Crohn, Professor Tim Dalton
Individual and Society
November 26, 2018
Femininity in Today’s World
When an individual goes through changes that affect their bodies physically through its structure and functionality, they change along with it. A person’s body and mind are both part of a temple that shapes that person’s identity. When changes like these occur, they have either a positive response or a negative one. Characters in literature symbolize what it feels like to be an outcast and what makes women become programmed to look for acceptance within society. Like the literature piece The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things you can see how Virginia is affected tremendously in a negative manner by the overweight physique she has. It makes her isolate herself and treat herself as though she isn’t adequate for the ones who surround her knorr worthy of love. With the relationship between one’s body image and self-esteem, you can see how beauty and the concept of being normal within society have created issues for the female population.
Body image and self-esteem is the connection that can either lead to a good alliance being born or a negative one taking over. Body image is the way a person feels when they look at themselves in the mirror and the image they create of the body that they have mentally. It correlates with the mental and emotional health of one’s mind. In Body, Self-Esteem, and Mental Health (2015) it states “Self -esteem impacts how you take care of yourself, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.” this means that self-esteem is the amount of love and acceptance a person has for themselves, that is both what’s considered to be internally and externally. There are only two situations that can arise from both circumstances being put together which is one that will either be positive and outgoing with who and what they are or the opposite will occur. With that being said one has to respect their body and when they have an issue with some part of it take actions that are considered to be healthy so that they can remain happy and have a good body image forward.
Fashion industries have created an issue within the female population for a long duration. Two ideals have been made for women to follow either of them is to have big breasts, a huge bottom, and a flat stomach or for them to be slim to the point where they are boney. Many industries have displayed these concepts through their use of both images and shows that involve models. After viewing this, females are often left to feel insecure and ashamed of the bodies that they have when they aren’t able to fit in neither of the categories. It has the impact to create a negative body image for them which resorts in low self-esteem. In Body Image of Women (2014) it states “Clothing firms use size zero models in their advertisements that are often photoshopped to alien-like dimensions that would be unachievable and unhealthy in any human being” this shows how clothing companies intentionally make women self-conscious. Also, it has led them to think that they have to have bodies that are not possible to achieve through the use of models who are very thin. Companies like Victoria Secret fat-shame women by not selling their products bigger than a size large and publicly saying they don’t want plus size people wearing their clothes. They consider women who are overweight as disgusting and as a disrespect to the name of their companies. An example of a fashion event that is considered to be grand and very important is the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” which is an annual event that promotes these standards that have been talked about for years through displaying high-quality clothes and lingerie on very thin tall models that are called Angels. This is displayed by the picture of the event on the left which shows women who are extremely thin. Hair length as well has been set to be a certain length for women to be considered appealing. Fat shaming and body shaming is a societal norm today because of events like this one.
Music is considered to be the food for the soul since it gives people that relation that they often seek through its use of words and melodies. Music has been known to talk about many dilemmas that people of every background has experienced variating from heartbreak, sexual intercourse, to friendships, and many more. One thing that has been seen a lot through the course of time are men in the industry describing how they only want women of a specific body type. Although it has changed through the course of time, specific body parts have been idolized. It all has the same conclusion which is that you have to look a certain way to catch attention. An example of a song that demonstrates this thoroughly through its use of words would be “No Type” by Rae Sremmurd when he states “I got some models that you see up in the movies…. Bad bitches the only thing that I like”. The artist is saying that in order for a girl to look appealing in his eyes, they have to be slim with beautiful assets. This degrades women who don’t fit into that category by creating an ongoing criticism in songs. Especially when the song is a hit and many people are drawn to it. Women often feel inadequate when situations like this occur since they will go on extreme diets and do things to become thinner. Beauty expectations will never end criticizing women.
Literature works are made with great thought when talking about the impact of physical change on all aspects of someone’s life. Many different pieces of literature such as comics, poems, and novels convey this through the protagonist of the plot. Characters that demonstrate a female struggling with self-esteem because of the thoughts that were implemented from society unconsciously are Kamala from Ms. Marvel, Cece from El Deafo, and Virginia from The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. Kamala’s issue is that she’s the complete opposite from the females who are worshiped in New Jersey being that the ones who are put on top are white blonde headed females while she, on the other hand, is a brown tone brunette. She learns to love herself by accepting the fact that she is unique and surrounding herself with people who accept her. Society does indeed create issues for females just like Virginia who are overweight and don’t like the way they look since they don’t meet the societal norms. In one part of the novel, it states “It’s Brie Newhart, Brinna Livingston, and Briar Schwartz….. Major requirements: be bony, be bitchy, and begin your name with “Bri.” (Mackler) this shows how the thoughts implemented in Virginia’s head made her think that in order to have friends and be liked by people she would have to be thin. Girls who are overweight most of the time have a very self-conscious mindset that often leads them to bash themselves. Cece from El deafo felt isolated from society because of her disability although in the last chapters of the book she learns to accept herself and live the life that she has to her best of abilities. These three female characters show how there’s a struggle for acceptance and love when girls are lead to see themselves as nothing more but pure outcasts of society.
Media outlets is a place where comfort and reliability are brought about for people who suffer from the emotions and repeated occurrence of feeling alone because of their insecurities. The world that we live in today is one where items such as televisions and phones are being used as an escape from the feelings and thoughts that pass through many individuals’ minds. A common app that’s used by people to watch movies and tv shows that touch upon the topics that they don’t like to mention in public is Netflix. A movie that’s on Netflix that is an example of this is called “To the Bone” which is about a 20-year-old patient named Ellen who has the eating disorder of Anorexia. For the duration of the movie, you see how Ellen struggles with holding onto her life because she’s infatuated with becoming very thin. Ellen is an example of how negative connotations that have been created for body image can lead women to endure eating disorders. This means that they have gotten to the point in their lives where they no longer live healthy lifestyles. These disorders can cause havoc not only for these particular people but for their families as well. Youtube is another source many may have on their electrical devices that displays the insecurities that females have. On youtube, you will find videos of girls breaking down because of hate comments they read on their channels from people who say their bodies are terrible to look at because they don’t own up to the expectations that are present. This has gotten to the point that not only are older women affected but girls in their adolescent years as well. A video that is an example of this is called “Girls Ages 6-18 Talk About Body Image l Allure” which is where many girls that are going through their puberty years discuss how they dislike their bodies. To conclude, self-confidence is being murdered by these attitudes that have been set by others beliefs.
There are many solutions and methods to both help treat the problems that are brought about body image and preventing a negative mindset from developing. When people end up in these predicaments the solutions to their problems include therapy and surrounding themselves with people who love and embrace the person that they are. Friendships like the one in Ms. Marvel that’s displayed between Kamala and Bruno show how when you surround yourself with someone who reminds you to remember your roots and embrace who you are completely you’ll have a positive outlook on everything and be happy with who you are as a person. Talking to therapists and having continuous sessions with them will help females a lot with acceptance and self-love. In Good Therapy (2017) it states “The aim of the therapy is to reduce preoccupation with perceived flaws and help the individual in treatment to develop a more realistic and positive perception of the body.” this means that therapists help girls realize the beauty for which their bodies are and to accept it for what it is. What people have to understand is that girls become depressed and overwhelmed by the comments that others make when they say that the female anatomy should be one way and whatever that isn’t that should be discredited. Companies are starting to embark in this journey by advocating to women that self-acceptance is the sexiest and best thing to do. For example, Dove has billboards all over the country that demonstrate acceptance for all females by having pictures of all body types in different shades of colors. Along with positive reassuring comments that talk about how beauty is in every single body. Luckily this problem that females have come into contact with is starting to be handled through various methods.
When Life gives you lemons you do not throw them back at it instead, you make sweet lemonade. People need to understand that meaning by embracing others characteristics instead of criticizing them. Although body image continues to be a problem for many females today, it’s finally becoming addressed and recognized by many. With a positive mindset, there come positive solutions, and vice versa happens with negativity. Literature has helped people by giving them an outlet that doesn’t cost much and will always be there no matter the circumstance. Characters in books are associated with people, and the problems that they come across in their everyday life and that’s why when they essentially overcome obstacles it is seen as a relief for many. Just like racism, and sexism body image will always continue to be an issue because a lot of people are judgemental and like to point out the flaws in others but when there is love anything in the world is possible. Not every female is born confident or self-accepting of themselves but with developing traits and paying close attention to what billboards say there is hope for at least self-hate to become resolved. Society can be impactful in one’s life, but women are realizing that it does not have to have a status that is incredibly high in their lives and that it does not have to overcome everything in which they are. There is only one you and no single person can change that and now is the time where women will have the power to embrace their distinct qualities and get rid of the negative energy that surrounds.
Work Cited Page
Tabitha Farrar (2014) Body Image of Women
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC (2015) Body, Self-Esteem, and Mental Health
Good Therapy(2017) Body Image
G. Willow Wilson. Ms. Marvel, Volume 1: No Normal (2014)
Carolyn Mackler. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (2003)
Cece Bell El Deafo (2014)
Harry N. Abrams; 1 edition
To the Bone. Directed by Marti Noxon, Netflix, 2017.
Rae Sremmur. “No Type.” ScremmLife, Interscope Records, 2015. Apple Music
James, Russel. Angels. 2018
Dove. Real Beauty Campaign. 2013
“Girls Ages 6-18 Talk About Body Image l Allure.” YouTube, uploaded
By Allure, 31 May 2018