The Influence of Media on Perception of Beauty Essay

2095 Words Feb 9th, 2013 9 Pages
The influence of the media on our perception of female beauty

Defining beauty is not without its challenges: look up the definition of beauty in any english dictionary and one will be met with an ambiguous description similar to this:

''A combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense''

(Newman 2010) acknowledges the dilemma in asking what beauty is. She maintains ''we grope around the edges of the question as if trying to get a toe-hold on a cloud''. We know it when we see it, or so we think. Philosophers construct beauty as a moral equation (Newman 2010). Plato once said that what is beautiful is good. Poets reach for the lofty, according to (Newman 2010). Jean Pullman wrote ''true beauty is how she acts,
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Genetically some women are not meant to be very thin. The death of American singer Karen Carpenter shocked the world in 1983 when it was found that her death was caused by complications due to anorexia. Her death essentially opened the eyes of the world to this disease, because many had not heard of it as it was rarely talked about (Schmidt 2010).

Karen became the first celebrity victim of anorexia. As one half of the band The Carpenters she was a regular in the spotlight and felt the pressures from the media to be thinner. Naturally curvaceous and weighing a healthy 140lbs, she began extreme dieting and starvation in 1967. Her body suffered from the lack of food and many doses of laxatives and thyroid pills and she had fainted many times on and off stage. Her heart, weakened from the stress she placed on her body, eventually gave up and she died from cardiac arrest.The dark side of beauty is apparent. But according to (Newman 2010), studies suggest that beauty is regarded as more than a confidence booster:

''attractive people make more money, get called on more often in class, receive lighter sentences, and are perceived as friendlier''

Evidently beauty is so highly regarded that there is an immense expectation for women to conform to impossible standards. According to (Chapman 2011) women are made to feel ugly and ashamed if these standards are not met.

For years the ideal beauty in women was considered to be white skin, light

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