Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beauty and Health: A step in the right direction for our young women.



Artwork by Stephen Shanabrook




A recent survey found that 60% of female Caucasian middle-schoolers read at least one fashion magazine regularly. In another study, women’s magazines were found to have over 10 times more advertisements and articles promoting weight loss than men’s magazines did. That’s why I’m glad to hear about a couple of companies who are focusing on providing a true picture of how women look.

In 2004 Dove launched a campaign called the Campaign for Real Beauty . Since then they’ve developed advertisements that point out the amount of photoshopping that takes place in the ad industry and have pledged to use only “real” women (ie: not professional models) in their adds to ”provoke discussion and debate about today’s typecast beauty images.” They’ve also begun a fund to enhance the self-image of adolescent girls, and to support research into the causes of negative self-esteem.

Very recently Brigitte, one of Germany’s most widely distributed magazines decided to ban professional models from its issues, in order to combat body image issues it believes that “rail-thin” models are contributing to. Instead, they will feature women who “have an identity,” including women involved in music and sports, and who are furthering their education. A spokesperson was quoted as saying that “the magazine views the move as an investment.” Investment indeed!

Hooray for Dove and Brigitte! It’s about time we start to focus on the self-esteem issues created by the unreal depiction of women in the media.

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