A recent survey by Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Clubs has found that six out of ten women hate the sight of their naked bodies. Why is this the case?
From Page 3 to shoe adverts, hardly a day goes by when you don’t see a bare female body as you go about your daily routine. There also seems to be a common factor between the bodies. They all tend to belong to young, thin women.
When thin women with ‘perfect’ bodies are the image of females that is most common within the media, a narrow ideal of female bodies is created. This leads to many people feeling uncomfortable within their own skin and puts pressure on people who feel they need to conform to these ideals.
While there’s nothing wrong with having a thin body, one body shape is not representative of the whole of the women in the UK; especially when the average clothing size for women is size 16. When a certain size is presented as ideal, smaller and larger women are left feeling equally isolated. Pressure is also felt by women who are considered to fit the ideal as people expect them to uphold their image.
Female body ideals change over time and an easy way to see the trends of a certain era is to find out what plastic surgery procedures are gaining and decreasing in popularity. Data that was recently published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons shows that upper arm lifts are gaining popularity. This shows that people are willing to go to extreme lengths to obtain arms that look perfectly toned regardless of the risks that come with surgery.
The media has focused a lot on the bodies of Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj which has increased the popularity of larger and toned bums. The recent popularity of squat challenges, and websites praising the backsides of women who have done it, has led to a rise in the desire for the perfect bum. This has led to an increase in bum implants which has also led to woman’s briefs with padded bums being sold on the high street.
A big concern with narrow ideals of female beauty in western culture is that the emphasis is not on health or healthy body image. Female bodies are seen a source of aesthetic appeal which is why they are used on adverts and to illustrate pieces of text that bare female bodies aren’t directly relevant too. This lack of emphasis on body image leads to women feeling uncomfortable and hating their body.
Our bodies are a way for us to express our inner self and the ‘ideal’ body shapes presented in the media make us question what we feel is ideal for us. More needs to be done to increase the variety of women in the media, so that a clearer picture of the women of the UK is painted, in order for women to start accepting their bodies instead of harshly judging them.