If you’ve glanced at a magazine or turned on the TV in the last decade, you’ve got a good idea of what it takes for a girl or woman to qualify to be featured positively in media: she’s tall, young, usually white, has long, flowing hair, is surgically enhanced, blemish-free and very thin. In fact, academic research tells it like we see it: studies show the women we see in media these days are on screen specifically to be looked at, as objects to be viewed and consumed.
They fit ideals that drive huge profits for the beauty and diet industries. On top of that, surgical and digital enhancement has become an unquestioned standard. And in a world where a constant flow of media images far outnumbers women we could ever see face to face, this unrealistic ideal has become the norm in our minds.
A counterfeit, dangerous, unattainable norm. When we only see a certain type of woman presented positively in media, from fitness magazines to TV dramas, it’s no wonder media is consistently linked to body hatred, disordered eating and an unhealthy focus on appearance.
Profit-driven media, hand in hand with the multi-billion-dollar beauty and weight loss industries, rely on us believing a lie. The lie tells us beauty comes in one form that anyone can attain with enough money, time and effort. It tells us that women who don’t fit the ideal are doomed to be undesirable and unhappy. This sinister lie that female worth is dependent upon appearance is incredibly successful, but now that we recognize we’re in a battle for women’s worth and well being, we can actually start to defend ourselves!
Beauty Redefined is dedicated to promoting positive body image and resilience through teaching people to recognize, reject and resist harmful messages about female bodies in media and cultural discourse. We do this through speaking engagements in a wide variety of settings, offering online education through our website and 8-week online program, and continuing the conversation through social media. For more on our work and how you can join the battle to redefine the meaning and value of beauty in healthy and empowering ways, please follow the links above through Step 1: Recognize, Step 2: Redefine, and Step 3: Resist.