Popular culture has portrayed a large influence on society for decades now. It defines how we as human beings perceive reality and the outlook we have on body image. The effect of popular culture helps us establish a bond within our community and strengthen the interaction with others.
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In today’s generation, we are surrounded by pop culture. Things like TV shows, movies, music, or even magazines are all factors that hold a society together and gives a sense of shared identity and meaning that encourages people to live their life a certain way; however we see more of a negative impact that pop culture has on today’s humanity. The media industry portrays how women should be viewed in size and beauty. Social media and shows like the Victoria Secret fashion show influence how women should perceive their bodies.
The Victoria Secret Fashion Show is an annual event that takes place in cities around the globe. Within every year of the show, you have models like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner walking down the runway with either lingerie or the signature clothing of Victoria Secret– the angel wings. You have models going down the aisle with bras that emphasize their breast and underwear which highlights their thin waists and long legs. The models in the show are portrayed as angels because according to society they have achieved the perfection of how beauty is perceived in today’s society. For example, according to America’s Terrifying Beauty Standards, Serena Fix explains what society thinks the ideal beauty standard should be interpreted as. In her article she states how, a woman should have big breasts and a big butt. She should also have a flat stomach. Fix explains that society and social media try to convey to females that being skinny and tall is the definition of beauty. She tries to show the audience that in order to achieve that perfect body, females have to lose weight and have the average height of five feet and ten inches (Fix, 2018). In most religions, angels are defined as spiritual beings that serve God. However, throughout popular culture, they are represented in different ways. For instance, in children’s television shows/cartoons, a toddler with wings is known as cupid. In movies like Cinderella, the fairy Godmother symbolizes a caring, affectionate idol to the princess that mostly focuses on allocating the soul purpose of helping Cinderella. She is not perceived as what today’s society defines angels as. On the contrary, in the Victoria Secret fashion industry, the angels are slim females with a curvy physic, which is what the media now thinks the definition of an angel is. The models in Victoria’s Secret are referred as angels because according to social media this is how you should define beauty. Angels are looked upon as role models to many; nevertheless, mass media twists the definition of what an angel should be portrayed as. Instead of being all about good behavior and the good morals a person should have, the media tries to emphasize their image as sexy goddesses.
Females around the country adore the show, and many of their fans consider the models as idols they look up to. According to Veronica Granja-Sierra, women tend to compare their bodies to visual flawless figures of the Victoria Secret supermodels. (Elite Daily, 2013). This statement essentially describes how social media has a huge role on how females interpret how their body should be perceived. The media emphasizes the importance of Victoria Secret only because it underlines the ideal women’s body to people across the globe. This makes the female viewers more diffident about their bodies because they believe that they should look a certain way which is what the media wants. When women turn on the television to watch this show, they start to ask themselves how they can achieve the perfect body like the stars on the show. Granja-Sierra states that, by the end of the show, the self esteem of female viewers is mostly out the door. Meaning that when they look at these supermodels, the female viewers start to believe that they are not beautiful and they can never reach the high status of a supermodel’s body.
Social media continues playing a central role in the lives of females. For instance, shows like Victoria Secret fashion show try to portray women as a sexy, tall, and slim female with thin curves and less body mass. According to a Today Show article written by Rheana Murray, …60 percent of women from all age groups said that they wouldn’t post a photo of themselves on social media unless they loved the way they looked.” Nevertheless, looking at these statistics, you see how social media plays a crucial role on a female’s life. Every day, women across the country are being pressured by the media because of the expectations that they publicize for women. For instance, females at a young age are already feeling pressured to look a certain way. Author Veronica Granja-Sierra states that, after the age of 14, girls increasingly become their own worst beauty critics (Elite Daily, 2013). Media overall, like movies and magazines encourage females to lose weight because being overweight is not considered attractive–this only harms them and lowers their self-esteem. For instance, according to Meredith Watkins, 20 million American women experience an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime (ProjectKnow, 2018). This basically shows how popular culture today affects the way we think, behave and act. Many women across the country are surrounded by thin, curvy females constantly in magazines, billboards, advertisements, and newspapers. These things exploit unrealistic depictions degrading women’s bodies and a sense of how they should appear in public.
The Victoria Secret Fashion Show is known as an American identity that Americans claim as their own. The show has American raised models, for example, Adriana Lima. The annual shows take place in different countries each year; however, it embraces the American beauty standards throughout the world. Going back to how Americans define beauty, the standards are different outside of the United States. In contrast, Koreans believe that along with a tiny psychic, they focus more on the face rather than the body. The author of Women’s by Aghavni declares that, …Koreans will consider you beautiful if you have clear, light skin and a small face with double eyelids. Thus, Korean standards are different than what American’s distinguish beauty as. The American Victoria Secret models leave their mark when on the runway because of their angel wings that represent their American self identity. The wings symbolize beauty, power, and fulfillment of what the media standards of allure are.
To conclude, the Victoria Secret industry puts an image in society’s head of how a women should be perceived as. Everyday, the media exploits certain expectations of how a female should be distinguished in society. American media and culture have echoed a way of thinking for American society. They have influenced women nationally through them constantly looking at billboards, magazines, newspapers that convey a certain status of looks that a woman should have. It affects females drastically and their mental and physical health. We are surrounded by the unrealistic American beauty identity which causes females to doubt themselves, thus causing them to pay thousands for a plastic surgery that would meet American standards.
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