The Ideal Body: The Changing Notion Of Body Image

1940 Words 8 Pages
What constitutes the ideal body is in constant flux, due to shifts in the cultural zeitgeist (influenced by factors including scientific and technological advancement). As such, the consensus of what currently constitutes the ideal body in the Western world is fundamentally different to that of the 1980’s.
While the effects of scientific and technological advancement are important, it is necessary to question whether the changing notion of body image is due to changing social values or whether, in fact, the greater influence on the changing notion is through the modification of economic structures.
When deciphering the reasons behind the expression of the bodily ideal in both contexts, it is necessary to note the role that the economic ideology
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In reality it is just another marketing gimmick.

Paragraph 2: conspicuous consumption

It is the nature of our capitalism based societies, that essentially everything can be made into a marketable commodity. This is made easier with technological advances. The body has thus evolved from being almost utilitarian in quality to being an object of consumerism. When the body becomes a marketable product, it becomes subject to reification (viewed from a Marxist perspective as being the objectification and commodification of a person by depriving them of their personal qualities).

The objectified body will inevitably become subject to Jean Baudrillard’s Theory of Sign Value (the value of an object in regards to the prestige it entails). Thus, the difficult to obtain body type, requiring wealth and effort to achieve, is placed in high prestige, encouraging and applauding not only natural attributes, as in previous times, but also, conspicuous effort, consumption and expense in the attainment of the perfect
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An example, is the curvaceous Kim Kardashian, with a garish dress sense, who, although, at odds in shape and style with contemporary high fashion models, was featured on the cover of Vogue, in an acceptance by the latter, of Kardashian’s influence on contemporary society.

Selfies have become a way for one to narrate their own existence, the appeal of selfies come not only from the ease of use but the extent of control that they give the photographer over how they are presented. The selfie essentially acts as a constructed persona that is presented as being the authentic ‘real’ self.

Selfies are intended to present a flattering image of the subject …. To seek validation from one’s peers

Hyperreality (in semiotics and post-modernism) is the inability to distinguish between reality and the simulation of reality.

Hyperreality tricks the subconscious into detaching itself from real emotional engagement and instead choosing artificial

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