The media is a powerful tool of information, and when it comes to beauty standards, it can have a lasting impact on people’s lives. Studies have found that 70% of women feel negatively about their body image, and this has been attributed to unrealistic bodies portrayed in the media. Despite recent efforts by some companies to promote body positivity, six out of 10 women still say they don’t see enough body diversity in the media.
Body diversity is essential to promoting body positivity, which is an important aspect of mental health. The media has a significant impact on people’s perceptions of beauty, and when only one specific body type is traditionally portrayed, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy. It’s important to recognize that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and the media should reflect that.
When surveyed, 60% of women said they don’t see enough body diversity in the media. This is a concerning statistic, as it means many women still feel left out or are unable to identify with the bodies portrayed on television, in magazines, and on social media. This is particularly important for young women who are still figuring out their identities and can be easily influenced by what they see in the media.
The media has historically favored thin, white, cisgender, able-bodied, and conventionally attractive bodies. However, recent years have brought with them a growing awareness of these exclusionary practices, and movements for body positivity, diversity and inclusion have gained momentum. In response, some companies have started to include more diverse bodies in their advertisements, from different races and ethnicities, body shapes and sizes, and disabilities.
However, while progress has been made, many women still feel the media falls short. In some cases, even “diverse” bodies are still conventionally attractive and may not represent the range of diversity present in real life. Moreover, many plus-size models who are meant to be representative of larger women are still proportioned in conventionally attractive ways, creating an unrealistic standard for larger-bodied women who may not fit this look.
Moreover, women who identify as members of marginalized communities face a double-whammy of overbearing societal expectations on their appearances. Women of color, for instance, are “graded by the color scale”, and lighter-skinned women are often represented as more attractive than darker-skinned women. The same goes for models with varying ability levels, where models without visible disabilities are often the ones responsible for representing people with disabilities.
The effects of not seeing body diversity in the media are far-reaching. It can lead to feelings of inadequacy, poor body image, and a distorted sense of self-worth. When people don’t see bodies that look like their own celebrated in the media, it reinforces messages that some bodies are better than others. This includes their hair, skin, and other physical features that are stereotyped based on skin color, gender, and more.
Moreover, when people feel negatively about their bodies, they may turn to unhealthy behaviors that can lead to eating disorders, mental health issues, and drug abuse. Mental health is essential to overall health and wellbeing, and it’s critical that the media reflects a range of bodies so that people can see that their bodies are normal and worthy of celebration.
There are steps that the media can take to ensure greater body diversity. They should start by including more diverse casting in ads, programs, and magazines. This includes women with different body types and shapes, people of color, and those with disabilities. There should be a conscious effort to include models of all ethnicities and abilities, rather than just a token effort to be inclusive.
Moreover, special attention should be given to increasing the representation of black women, LGBTQ+ models, and other marginalized groups. The media should encourage diversity of thought and opinion, as well as physical diversity.
In conclusion, six out of 10 women still feel they don’t see enough body diversity in the media. This is concerning, given the role the media plays in shaping perceptions of beauty and self-worth. It is essential that the media recognizes the importance of body diversity and takes steps to increase representation. Promoting body positivity, diversity, and inclusion in the media can have a lasting impact on people’s self-esteem and overall mental health. By ensuring that all individuals are fairly represented in the media, we can create a world that more accurately reflects the beauty and diversity present in our society.