Influential Women Upgrade

The way people see themselves portrayed in the media can make a huge impact on how they feel about themselves, as well as how society views and treats them. Time and time again, mainstream media inadequately represents different groups of people. Erroneous representations, assumptions and portrayals can have negative impacts on people. Women are oftentimes illustrated in an skewed way which can lead to issues regarding self identity. Physical appearance has always been something commonly used to value a woman. It is no secret that women are praised more frequently for their looks than for their professional success. That being said, women sporting a specific look are often admired more.

“I think the prettier, the smaller, can dress, nice hair,” said freshman Chrystal Francis when asked what kinds of women she thought were shown often in the media. “I feel like I don't even see that much big women on it. Especially when I'm watching like the news, or anything, any reporters…they always look the same.” It is a common complaint, that the same type of woman is represented in the media. It makes people question how accurately females are being represented. Olivia Holmes, a sophomore student, believes that the majority of women are not being depicted. “I don't think it’s always a good appearance to judge all of women off of the ones that get the most attention” she said, “Often the women who don’t get media attention are the majority of the type of woman that exists today.”

This is true, as a study shows that only 5% of American women have the body type so often flaunted in the media. The same study done by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders revealed that 69% of girls between grades 5 and 12 say that magazine pictures influenced their interpretation of a perfect body image. So the body that these young girls strive for are not properly representing women. This proves the unrealistic expectations of women’s bodies put forward by the media. 

Females like Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus are very popular among young girls. Sadly, these women are often seen behaving in unethical ways that adolescents may confuse for being an adult. “I think they must be confused, but as long as you like make them understand that their life is not the usual or the normal type of life, then like it's alright.” said Olivia Holmes. “I don’t think its good that they just see it and think that that's what they should strive for.”

When asked what young girls must think of these celebrities, Nneka, a senior, said they must think “they need to be over the top sexy or they need an ass or boobs or weave and all that other stuff. I guess it would be nice if they portrayed natural beauty more.” The popularity of altering the natural body to appear as something “perfect” is a huge topic of discussion. Famous women all across the board are spotted getting injections in various body parts as well as plastic surgery. Chrystal Francis said, “I feel like girls who look at that are like ‘Oh yeah, let me try to do a little plastic surgery on myself so that people give me attention.’ ”

Not only is the appearance of these types of women on display, but their behavior as well. Women that show off their bodies in inappropriate ways receive tons of attention, positive and negative. “It can go either way based on people’s personal opinions, but in general, maybe hated more, but that makes them more famous” Nneka said. Attention is attention, and the more they receive, the more they are talked about. “They explicit themselves too much, so I think that its negative for them.” Chrystal stated.

Social media plays a strong role in this, as images of over sexualized women are often described as desirable. “You have Amber Rose, Blac Chyna, and all these quote-unquote hoes winning” Nneka explained that could confuse young, gullible girls as to what society prefers. Expressing your sexuality is not necessarily shameful, but it is also not necessary.

It is important that this is not the constant image displayed to women and girls of all ages. There are hundreds and thousands of respectable, educated women in the world that should be looked up to more. People should be more aware of how influential society can be. Individuals should have their own personal opinions rather than relying on the viewpoints of others.