Have you ever given a thought to wonder about why we think the way we do?
Such as why we don’t have battles like the Romans in the past? Or why we like to wear name brand clothes? Why we don’t all have pink/blue/green hair? Why we even wear make-up at all? Well most of the things we do are because of advertisements. A majority of what we think is “normal” is from the media and larger companies determining what the “public” should and will believe.
Stereotypes are how a culture characterizes a person by their mannerisms, physical appearance and the people they associate with. This creates a narrow outline of how people perceive them and what is expected of that person.
These narrow outlines while having positive attributes such as motivating one to break their stereo type they also have negative aspects. Both men and women have to deal with stereotypes that confine their lifestyles, such as: how they are treated and seen by the opposite sex, the way they act, feel, eat, who they talk to, what jobs to pursue and what role to take in a relationship.
In a culture where sex and nudity is everywhere, both men and women are being objectified. Our culture has spiraled from using 15% worth of sexual imagery in 1983 to 27% by 2003 (Sorrow). Through the decades the use of sex has skyrocketed. “In the 1960s, 11% of men and 44% of women on the covers of Rolling Stone were sexualized. In the 2000s, 17% of men were sexualized (a 55% increase), and 83% of women were sexualized (an 89% increase).” (Hatton 11)
This over flow of advertising of sex has led us to create an unnatural and unrealistic image of beauty and perfection.
Researcher Tom Reichert, professor and head of the department of advertising and public relations in the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has said this upward trend in erotic ads is a reflection of society.
“It takes more explicitness to grab our attention and arouse us than before,” he said. “In the early 1900s, exposed arms and ankles of female models generated the same level of arousal as partially nude models do today. We can see during our lifetimes the changes in sexually explicit content on television, movies, books and other forms of media beyond just advertising.”
The touch-ups done to magazine photos, TV commercials and videos have led to the idea of distorted models and exaggeratedly tall and skinny statures to be “gorgeous.” (Wahl) These unrealistic images lead to unrealistic expectations when finding a partner. Through the decades both men and women have objectified the opposite sex and are not looking for love or a relationship, but rather sex and appeal. Men have stereotyped women to only being beautiful if they are petite, small, and curvy. Women have stereotyped men to being macho, rugged and “never showing emotions or admitting to weakness.” (Kimmel 461)
Men and women have gone to drastic measures to attain these unrealistic goals. For men by age 10, boy begin to show concerns about their masculinity either for aesthetic or athletic reasons. They have resorted to steroid use, ephedrine use, and dieting to enhance their masculinity.
This leads boys to prioritize working out and maxing out at the gym when lifting weights other studying due to the idea that their appeal being more important than grades. Men have such a difficult image of perfection to fill. In our society we thing men should be focused, be alert, be assertive, look gorgeous, demonstrate respect, be in control, take charge and be dominate as well as gentle. (National Eating Disorder Association)
By age 6, girls have begun already shown signs of becoming concerned about their body shape. In elementary school 40%- 60% have already begun dieting in fear of becoming fat. (Smolak 7-8)