Are the media failing women? | English Coursework

Assignment 1: writing to argue (speech).
Are the media failing women? 

If one of your friends picked out your insecurities in the way you often do to yourself how long would you keep them as one of your friends?

Imagine yourself opening the newspaper or the latest edition of your favourite magazine to see a headline splattered across the page on the weight of your favourite celebrity. As a society the presentation of women on the web, screen, radio and paper is homing in on us with words of wisdom on how we should look, eat and act. We grow up surrounded by the pressures of the media. Those behind these papers and magazines shouldn’t have the power over us. Why do we succumb to their wishes and not only buy their products but aim for goals that are beyond the reach of any?

I’d like to draw attention to the fact that just last month The Sun published an article titled ‘Core blimey… Posh eats!’ accompanied with a photo of her eating an apple. The Sun then continue to write how “the size six fashion designer munched an apple” and described the fact that she was eating as something “we never thought we’d see”. Who are The Sun to tell us that eating even an apple isn’t normal? Recently The Daily Mail also published a similar article where a picture of Eva Longoria holding a newspaper is accompanied with the words “she has brains too” before it goes on to discuss her “tight white blouse”. Surely it must be damaging to these celebrities whose bodies are compared on a daily basis and weights splattered across the front page of best-selling magazines. The media are giving not only the public unrealistic goals but those in the public eye also.

Why do our whole lives seem to revolve around what dress size we are and whether our thighs rub together when we walk? When did it become the norm that 79% of girls who self-purge frequently read woman’s health and fitness magazines? Why are we letting ourselves become so obsessed with pursuing our goals to look like a picture in a magazine; a picture that is purely a creation of the computer? We are letting the monster that is the media get inside our minds and distort our thoughts. We are letting them tell us that how much we are worth depends on how similar we can look to images like those on magazine covers. We are letting them tell us that we should not be happy with the body we live in.

It’s not just via magazines that these unrealistic goals are formed. It all starts as a child. We learn to compliment children on being pretty and cute. Surely we should be teaching the younger generations to grow up striving towards attributes like being determined, brave or having a kind heart. You may be thinking that it is the fault of the parents for introducing them to the medias view on woman so young but however hard you try you can’t censor a child from these images as they are everywhere. The shops. The internet. Even on book covers. We are harming the confidence of young girls from such an early age by introducing them to this warped view of women.

But are the media failing men? Do they have the same pressures as women? Perhaps men are suffering just as badly as we are? I’m sure many have these thoughts lingering at the back of your mind and yes men do face pressure from the media to get their act together and maybe even have a rack of muscles to match. But to say that the media are failing them may be taking it too far. When you walk into a shop and see the shelf of magazines you are greeted by the edited faces and bodies of a lot of women. If a women isn’t being praised on a magazine cover they are being picked apart for having gained a few pounds. Yes, men may feel the need to go to the gym and build up some muscle or get abs like Channing Tatum but you hear much less of men taking it to heart and taking up desperate measures for this to happen. I’m not dismissing the fact that is this a problem, but is it really as out in the public as the problem with the presentation of women?

The media are also failing us through the sexualisation of women. With music videos like Robin Thicke’s blurred lines and Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball it is clear that how women are presented as sexual objects is a weird yet controversial subject to many. In a lot of places it is illegal for a female to walk around topless; yet in the media these images appear all the time. The female body is treated so strangely. It seems as if everyone is longing to see it, but as soon as some skin is shown someone is given a name for themselves. Over the years the figures have soared and intensely sexualised images of women now cover magazines. A study revealed that the cover of Rolling Stone magazine was 89% more likely to be a sexualised image of a woman in the 2000s than in the 1960s. You are not simply there to aid somebody else and our duty as a woman is not to live to please men. This is not the message we should be putting out there.

Perhaps, if we stop defining ourselves by what we are not and start defining ourselves on what we are, the effect the media have on women will slowly decrease. I hope one day you will learn to fill your heart with love, love for those around you, but mostly a love for yourself and everything about you. As Sally Coulter said “we need to stop trying to find the forest and just enjoy the trees”. 

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