On Wednesday, March 28, Daisy Mendoza, a representative of both the communications department and the Women’s Center reached out to Oswego State students in a “Perceptions of Body Image” workshop. In this workshop, the impact by the media on both women and men’s views of true beauty was heavily addressed.
“Many magazines and television shows are geared towards susceptible, vulnerable and ignorant girls of today,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza said much of what we see in ads such as commercials on television, billboards and magazines show a rather negative portrayal of what women should look like in order to be viewed as beautiful. Many of these ads were put on display throughout Mendoza’s presentation. An ad that was created for the designer brand Dolce & Gabbana, depicting a woman being straddled and surrounded by men, was especially horrifying. It is an issue today when women are made out to be sexual objects in these ads. One Skyy Vodka ad showed a male holding a bottle of vodka, standing over a heavily exposed female model. The ad seemed to be selling not only the vodka, but the body of the exposed model, which seemed unnecessary.
The workshop discussed that not only do these ads seem to over sexualize women in their attempt to sell products, but the idea that women must be skinny in order to be perceived as beautiful became central in this workshop. In a room full of young women, this view was discussed. One statistic showed that 80 to 90 percent of women dislike their bodies. Many fashion ads showed images of extremely thin women.
After watching a YouTube video, which showed images, at first, of glamorous super models while playing a vulgar rap song, suddenly changed to a somber tune while showing images of women with eating disorders, the room was silenced. Another YouTube Video watched was titled “The Beauty Myth,” which showed how an already naturally beautiful woman’s face could be altered and completely changed using technology. Many people are not even aware that this type of alteration exists. The dangerous thing about electronic alteration is that women and men today actually believe that these altered photos are a representation of natural beauty. In reality, the results are unable to be achieved.
Another section of the workshop focused on impact of the media on children’s perceptions of body image. Television shows such as “Toddlers and Tiaras” show girls as young as age eight in full hair and makeup competing in beauty pageants. Mendoza went on to explain that these girls already have the idea in their heads that they must be thin to have the “perfect body.”
However, some companies, such as “Dove” are actually starting to campaign for natural beauty. These ads show women of all shapes and sizes as well as a variety of different races, wearing smiles in their own natural state. This type of advertising is what restores the hope that this beauty bias which is controlled by the media will be stopped.
Events are being held here at Oswego State that addresses the issues of the media’s impact on beauty perception. A “Slut Walk” will be held on April 25 at 7 p.m. in front of Hewitt Union, as well as the Vagina Monologues, which will be held on Friday, March 30, and Saturday, March 31 at 7 p.m. in Hewitt Union Ballroom. $5 donations would be accepted.