Stress, A Result of Stress

It is safe to say that media and a patriarchal society are in part responsible for the low self-image of women. I would like to add that it is more than likely that men feel pressure from standards of society as well. Women feel the need to be physically flawless, through the eyes of everyone but themselves. The ideal woman is supposedly sexy, well-rounded, skinny, and with porcelain skin. She is kind to everyone, great at cooking, and will be a trophy wife. But why is the media allowed to decide what defines a woman as perfect?  It is difficult to picture a society where media has little influence over our norms and our self-esteem. For those women who are curvy, have acne, and have any dreams to be anything but a stay-at-home/make more than 80% of what men make, life can be extremely stressful. For example, women who are healthy but are unhappy with their weight may become anorexic or bulimic. The psychological stress of society who tells them to be skinny is far too much to handle and women take extraordinary measures to look “perfect”. Meanwhile, they are bingeing and purging, which is bad for teeth and the esophagus, among many other things. Their bones become weak and very frail. Those who choose (if you can call it a choice) to omit food all together have rapid muscle loss.  But, why is it that a woman sees herself as fat when she sees her best friend, who is heavier than she is, as beautiful and healthy? The media portrays unrealistic goals of women and people are their own worst critics. The psychological stress that we get from striving to be “perfect” may lead to physical stressors when unhealthy measures are taken.


4 Responses to “Stress, A Result of Stress”

  1. 1 whitneyroberts May 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    This is so true. I believe that women are their own worst critics. They often don’t hold themselves to the same standards they hold others, in the sense that they set much higher and often unachievable, unrealistic, and unhealthy standards for themselves. I believe that this is in part an influence by media as well. While persons on TV criticize others, it is usually the case where they “look better” (weight, beauty, fashion), and I think because of this, women are more critical of themselves than anyone else in an effort to probably unconsciously reenact what we see on TV (successful/gorgeous/skinny people putting down people who aren’t as successful (although still very successful), gorgeous, and skinny).

  2. 2 kristenlyon May 11, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Sorry I can’t get this to post as an actual video but check out the youtube clip that goes well with this post. The comments on it are entertaining as well.

  3. 3 treyh43 May 12, 2011 at 12:06 am

    I think that this is a very important point and I feel that this is a cause for depression in women. I would also like to say that with the emerging of professional sports “poster boys” as a male it is hard to not feel the pressure to also try and look a certain way. Many of the magazines that talk about fitness show MMA fighters, or football players who are freak athletes in peak physical form and compare their workout to the workout of an average person. Being a male I feel pressured to try and look a certain way even though it is not to the extent that women have to deal with.

  4. 4 carimalakoff May 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I find this topic of the media’ s influence of a woman’s self-esteem and confidence very interesting. I did a research paper last semester for a women’s studies class researching this topic. I found that the media has a great impact on the low self-esteem many women face in which ultimately can lead to eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. Due to women looking at magazines in which picture flawless women with the perfect bodies and skin, it portrays a very unrealistic image into women’s heads. It is even scarier to think about when you see young girls looking at these types of magazines and feeling as though they need to reach these unrealistic, ideal standards.

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