Too short, too tall, too fat, too slim, is Britain ever happy with their bodies. Growing up all children; girls and boys are shown the dream bods that everyone longs to have, faced with them all over adverts, magazines, television it’s no wonder that children and adults are forever self conscious and are not always comfortable with the way they look. What happened to ‘it’s all about inner beauty’?
Yes we’re all overwhelmed with the slag off articles about whose had the latest botox or breast implants and how none of it is real and its all camera tricks, but does any of that ever come up when your looking at a supermodel on the front of your favourite magazine? My main aim is to see whether the media focuses on surgery and starvation or if they do really believe in real sized people and working with what they already have.
There are television programs nowadays that focus on bringing out the beauty that we already have but watching the programs do we feel better or worse about ourselves? One of the major hit series that is currently on television is How to look good naked, although the program does end in giving the woman so much confidence that they are comfortable to take a picture naked and strut there stuff in just underwear down a catwalk throughout the program it offers other beauty tips and women are given great fashion advice for all sizes and shapes.
This series aimed at women does have numerous teenage girls testing all the good latest tips and sometimes unfortunately expensive beauty products. Is this really such a good thing? To analyse what is really being portrayed in our media some of the material I will be using is from the website of the program www. channel4. com. naked. When searching through the website it is evident that they do not encourage surgery. The website also shows articles of past shows for people to read up what happened in previous programs; an example is Lucy Govan.
The first line of the article starts with, ‘celebrating the naked form in all its glory……. without a surgical knife in sight’ this already gives many readers more confidence as although many feel it common to be put under the knife not everyone is willing. I myself are included in this. The pictures we are presented with right from the beginning of the article show how much the program and Gok Wan (The stylist and presenter of the program) can ‘transform’ the women; be it style, confidence or image.
It can be seen that although the women do look a lot more attractive it can be argued that the ‘before pictures’ do not have any make up on at all and their clothes are not of the best fashion, however in the after pictures it shows them wearing the latest fashions with subtle tones of make up on and to put the cherry on the top there is professional lighting used to make their pictures as best they can.
This could say to us that beauty is about how you portray yourself to the public or it could be that the right makeup and fashion can make everyone pretty. What does this tell us about attractiveness and the difference between a pretty supermodel and your average mum? Does this mean that it’s nothing about who you really or whether you can fit into a size 6 but about how you carry yourself in public?
The article begins by explaining a bit about the person, here it tells us that the girl, Lucy Govan wants to become an actress and worried she is too big and does not feel ‘girly’ as she puts it, this emphasises the opinion of women all around the world that beauty takes you to Hollywood and not talent; but the program teaches how you don’t have to be ‘size zero’ to be beautiful and that they believe it is more important to be ‘size hero’. Gok teaches that beauty comes with knowing what your body is like and what works best with it.
I later went on to read his Six stages of How to look good naked, surprisingly rather than focusing on all the products or the latest designer boutiques, most of the stages are about your mind and confidence. The first stage is Face your fears; the second, change your self-perception; thirdly, see yourself as others see you, fourthly work your body; fifthly respect yourself. As you can see all apart from one about beauty cheats are about your mind and how you treat yourself nothing to do with getting bigger boobs, using the most makeup or wearing designer dresses.
Stage 2, change yourself perception states that media does not represent real women and stresses that they have been air brushed, it is also gives useful advice such as to compare themselves with real life women. Does this mean that media is changing and the world we live in will nto be full of following the latest celebrities to the gym? We can see that How to look good naked is a confidence boost and does not tell all its viewers to start dieting, it does encourage healthy eating but not use these dreaded crash diets or ‘rabbit food diets’ that we are forever being presented with, led by all the most popular celebs.
In contrast to this program is 10 years younger, this makes viewers feel that surgery is the way forward. Where, how to look good naked goes just as far as using beauty products 10 years younger promotes; cosmetic dentistry, hair laser removal, botox, face lifts, the whole lot. Questions are raised from this program like, could wax strips not be used? Do we need to go to such extremes? But opposing could be said that laser hair removal takes the hassle away permanently.
The show is also rather harsh along with how to look good naked however one of the latest crazes is to have presenters with strict attitudes that focus on losing weight quick and achieving the best results, nto always enjoying yourself but the result. Examples of this are also in Trinny and Suzanna, You are what you eat, Diet doctors, 3 fat brides one slim dress, fat club; this is only a small selection and already you can see that the media is swamped with ways to look good, slim down and feel better. It isn’t enough to just put my ideas about these programs around so I thought I would go to the best for advice.
Who else could this be than the general public? A working mother said that programs such as 10 years younger actually made her feel more conscious and not want to go out as much, however programs like how to look good naked actually made her want to follow the latest tips as they were cheap and harmless to try. A 16 year old girl said that she learnt a lot about how to look after her body without going to the extremes of surgery and learnt to appreciate her own body and styles and work with them rather than against them. All the programs around seem to focus on the women, but what about the men?
All you ever seem to hear is that a man is ‘queer’ or ‘gay’ if he pays attention to his physical appearance, but we all do know that deep down they love to be pampered just as much as the women around. Following this are the glamour models, they support some of the same ideas. There are numerous stories of people that wanted to be models but were not your ‘perfect’ 6 foot, size zero women and therefore could not get the job or did not have the confidence to go ahead with it. This was why the ‘dove campaign’ was such a major issue, not only with selling products but for women everywhere.
The dove campaign aimed on presenting their products without all the stick thin, perfectly proportionate women that we were used to. It changed many peoples perspectives and view themselves differently. Searching the net infact the only models that I found in many internet browsers were the dove models and the size zero ones, showing us that the only real sized women we are faced with are thanks to the dove company, it is easy to see for ourselves who looks better but what posses people to go so far? Many celebs are said to have eating disorders or to purposely starve themselves in order to look better.
All the stories however cannot be believed. Celebrities are put under immense pressure, putting on the slightest weight or losing some can start vicious rumours vital to their careers. Heat magazine presented an article about big brothers Nikki Grahame; we are told that she began her eating disorders at the shocking tender age of 8. Not only did they comment on her losing weight they made assumptions of what situations Nikki was under and brought her personal life into media attention, this shows us how the media can manipulate slight weight change and how carefully celebrities have to be.
In conclusion to what I found about the media; it is apparent that the media is changing and there are programs that help you to concentrate on what you are like, but you still have diet programs. Some which are good as we all know about the obesity issues Britain is faced with currently. However it does not make it right to broadcast documentaries about liposuction for those who are just over the average body weight and can create eating disorders for many.
Although stars feel it appropriate to be stick thin we are shown with many celebrities that you can be curvy and still look nice a great example being Vanessa Felts; not the most attractive but she has a very bubbly personality and is liked throughout the media, although participating in ‘celebrity fat club’ she has stuck to her weight and does not let her shape get in the way of her celeb lifestyle. Many follow this, as so I do not think media is too worried about weight unless the celebs themselves show signs of worrying, for example Victoria Beckham and her atrocious dieting. So as the famous saying goes, life is what you make it!