Alison Bechdel: The Objectification Of Female Stereotypes

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Today’s society is ruled by a rigid ideal of how a woman should look, think, and act. This ideal is perpetuated and drilled into the malleable minds of girls from birth by both the people they are raised around and the things they watch, read, and listen to. The way women are represented in movies, television, literature, music, and magazines is drastically different than the representation of men in the same places. When young girls go to the store with their parents and are standing in line at checkout and see the magazines, they see covers with skinny, gorgeous women on the front, saying things like “Get skinny fast,” “Lose ten pounds in two weeks by following this diet,” or “Best jeans to flatter your butt!” These little girls do not know …show more content…
They are more daring, promiscuous, and shallow than what is common. Often times, the female characters exist only to support the male characters or as romantic or sexual objects. In order to combat sexism like the objectification of women, cartoonist Alison Bechdel drew a comic about women’s roles in films, which eventually brought about the Bechdel Test (Bechdel, A, 1985) (See Appendix B for comic). This test has three requirements: (a) Are there two named characters? (b) Do they speak to each other? (c) Do they talk about something other than a man (Bechdel, A, 1985)? Most people would think it’s a very easy test to pass, but there are a startling amount of movies that do not meet the requirements. Vocativ took the 50 highest-grossing films of 2013 and analyzed whether or not they passed the Bechdel Test (See Appendix C for infographic). When they looked at the results, they found that 17 (36%) of the 50 movies passed (Dockterman, 2014). Technically, 24 passed, but the other seven had very little dialogue between women that was not related to men. While most movies do not pass this simple test, the ones that do make more money (Dockterman, 2014). Overall, the Bechdel-passing films made 4.22 billion dollars, but the films that failed only made 2.66 billion dollars. The popular science fiction film, Pacific Rim, was one 2013 flick that utterly failed the Bechdel Test. Although that is true, the movie …show more content…
Adolescent girls are trying to achieve the high standards of beauty, but are struggling with doing it healthily, often result to altering their eating and developing disordered eating habits. Studies show that girls ages 10-25 with already low self-esteem and are shown thin-ideal media over long periods of time are far more likely to develop an eating disorder such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa (Blaivas, Levine, & Murnen, 2002). Eating disorders are defined as a “definite disturbance of eating habits or weight control behavior” that “results in a significant impairment of physical health or psychological functioning” (Fairburn & Harrison, 2003). According to Fairburn and Harrison (2003), some of the predisposition to eating disorders is hereditary, but is triggered and pushed over the edge by environmental factors such as peer competition, family, and

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