Cultural ideals create unrealistic images

Nineteen models, 21 makeup artists, almost 40 cans of hairspray, a $2.5 million diamond and jewel- encrusted bra, products exclusively from the Victoria’s Secret make-up line and the combination of the fashion, makeup and celebrity performances, helped to place this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on a grand scale.
On Tuesday, Nov. 29, I was one of 10.3 million viewers that indulged in one of television’s most glamorous events, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. As I watched the models strut down the catwalk, I became intrigued by the concept of their figures. Tracey Lomrantz, a New York City-based writer, editor and style editor at Glamour magazine, noted that “it’s interesting how many women say they use the show as a motivator to hit the gym or to finally start their diets.”

My question is, how is that interesting? American women view these grotesquely thin models, begin to feel incredibly self-conscious and then strive to go to the gym and diet, so that they too can appear “sexy” and “appealing” to men.

The attraction to women’s bodies is culturally constructed. From birth, women are conditioned to become
beautiful, and especially in Western society, that is partially defined as having complete control over one’s body.

To be thin is the ultimate American dream. But these standards can be dangerous for women who are heavier set, even with diet and exercise, and perpetuate the idea that women are physical forms to be molded into idealized shapes- defined by advertisers, nonetheless.

Why should women feel compelled to be stick-thin and unhealthy looking?
In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, curves were sought after; clothing would be modified to give the appearance of hips, thighs and the like. Now today, we strive for skin and bones.

I recognize that obesity is a problem, but there is no cultural “happy medium;” women are either too fat or too thin. Furthermore, what happened to the sexiness of intelligence, wit, depth and other similar traits that are worth valuing? Should we, the women of modern society, just forget these traits and force ourselves to attempt to obtain the Victoria’s Secret model body?

Stop looking in the mirror and seeing the glass as half empty. Instead of looking for flaws, embrace your positive characteristics and figure out ways to enhance them.

Lady Gaga, the queen of individuality, dreams and self-love, is quoted saying, “You have to be unique, and different and shine in your own way,” and I know for a fact this is true.

If we keep falling under societal pressure, how are we going to be viewed by future generations? Are we going to continue down the path of stick-figured women? Because if that’s the case, then why bother trying to find self-love?
Lucille Ball once said, “Love yourself first and everything falls into line,” which I find necessary for everyone to believe in.

I mean, you can call yourself beautiful, or think of yourself as a blob, don’t let society have an effect on your own self-image. You’re either going to love yourself, or not, but who’s to tell you what you’re supposed to look like?
Society can think what they want, and once again, in the words of Lady Gaga, “Well, that’s your opinion, isn’t it? And I’m not about to waste my time trying to change it.”

And we shouldn’t try to change society’s view, we should live counter to what society’s view of perfect and beautiful is, and learn to embrace ourselves.