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Contextualizing Body Image in Mainstream Culture

It’s time to notice what the media that we’re consuming. Too often, we as members of our society don’t question or take the time to critique what we absorb each and every day.

What we, as women/womyn, view every single day is hurting us. In a capitalist, increasingly neo-liberal, mixed economy patriarchal society, we must realize the driving forces that propel all that we absorb. As it stands, corporations with the most money distribute and uphold the majority of what we see at the citizen level. As a side-note, it’s important to notice the leadership of most businesses and corporations is consistent of men.

Our lives are heavily influenced by the marketing and corporations around us. Though it may not seem like much, the relationship between women and companies is very strong – and it’s very toxic. As Robert Jensen says in Katz’ text, “Our culture… is a culture in which violence-by-sex [is] so common that it could be seen as normal.” Everything about existence runs around hurting women because they are women. This sexist relationship of violence against women translates into how women see themselves.

The Emily Program, an organization devoted to outreach and spreading awareness about eating disorders, reports that dieting is the biggest behavior that people do that leads to them developing eating disorders. Don’t we live in a culture centered around dieting? The Emily Program reports that 45% of American women are on a diet on any given day.

As Health Education Research says, “Weight-loss advertising messages often employ a combination of persuasive techniques that may undermine common sense and sound knowledge of nutrition.” Clearly, it’s working. Americans spend over $40 billion on dieting and diet-related products each year.

Our culture is centered around making people, especially women, hate their bodies and attack their bodies. We can’t blame women for this.

1 in 5 women struggle with eating disorders or disordered eating.


Check out this article for more.


Founder and former Campus Correspondent for the Her Campus chapter at Saint Louis University. Graduating in May 2020 with degrees in Public Health and Women's and Gender Studies. Committed to learning about and spreading awareness for a more self-aware public health field, intersectional feminism, and college radio. Retweet this bio and enter a drawing for a free smartphone!
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