The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Television and The Desirable Woman

Posted by iusbvision on March 7, 2006

Over the past few months I have had multiple conversations with IUSB student women who overwhelmingly seem to be under the impression that the media is telling them unless they are thin, women are not good enough for men. I had hoped that many women knew in reality this was not true, but sadly I don’t think many are seeing it.

According to http://womensissues.about.com, “the average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds” and “the average American model is 5’11” and weighs 117 pounds.”  Lastly, “Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women.” What does this tell us? To me it says that what the media portrays as a desirable woman is a joke, not only is it a joke, but an unrealistic, seriously damaging joke.  After all, the study also shows that “42% of elementary school students between the 1st and 3rd grades want to be thinner” and “80% of children who are ten years old are afraid of being fat.”  Is this what the children of the future should be worrying about?  I don’t doubt that it’s important to keep in shape for your health, but we know this image isn’t coming from a health perspective, it’s about being ‘desirable’.

According to http://www.dictionary.com there are two definition of desirable.  The first is, “Worth having or seeking, as by being useful, advantageous, or pleasing.”  and the second is “Arousing desire, especially sexual desire.”  I read the first definition as being an honest, convicted, caring, loving, understanding and kind person.  These are traits ’worth seeking’ that will strengthen a relationship and make it into something more.  These will make one desirable to real men, and not those who buy into the media image.

The second definition I’d apply to those who are mislead into thinking that in order to get real men they must be enticing.  You can be desirable to men both ways, and even more desirable in one way over the other, but one has to ask “Which way am I trying to be desirable to men, and which way has a better chance of working out in the end?”  I encourage women to try not to buy into the social pressures being put on them  and try to focus on what’s important.  Shrug off those men who want you to be the image, it’s a joke, they’re a waste of your time.  Believe it or not there are good men out there looking for good women, those who get caught up in the image will only end up statistically thinking less of themselves.  Also, for men’s sake, be sure you don’t want the media image of them either. The media disclaims responsibility, but does everyone else feel that’s so?

Craig Chamberlin
Assistant Editor

2 Responses to “Television and The Desirable Woman”

  1. Stacy said

    After reading last week’s article, “Television and The Desirable Woman”, I laughed and wondered if women in our society will ever be happy with their body image. I am constantly looking at size zero waistlines with big breasts stamped on everything around me. I realize I will never be those measurements (thanks to genetics), but I tell myself, “it’s ok, men like women with curves”. However when I’m on the beach this summer sucking in my stomach, I know the looks will be going to the “smaller” girls prancing around.
    Then again there is something as too skinny. There seems to be no happy medium when it comes to the mentality of the individual with his or her body image. Men want to bulk up, women want to slim down. Nobody cares if they’re healthy anymore. Everyone wants get sexy quick. Don’t get me started on plastic surgery.
    I’m a steak and potatoes girl, so eating disorders never applied to me like the diet pills did. It seems like everyone knows someone with an eating disorder. My best friend told me once she was bulimic and I figured it was just one of her trends because everyone else was doing it. I was a bad friend and didn’t offer to help because vomiting was the least of her problems at the time. She’s fine now. Like I said, one of her trends. But for those when the eating disorder is critical and serious, I encourage seeking help immediately. Not only for the physical downfalls of the disease, but also for the emotional effect on the patient.
    Women want to be desirable and the only way we “know” is what is being advertised around us. The make-up, push-up bra, cute designer shoes. It’s not a hooker, it’s me going to class! In order for me to feel good about myself I need to be presentable for others both male and female. By looking the part, we can temporarily feel good and have the confidence that we lack in bathing suites on the beach.
    As long as fashion models strut their tall, lean bodies in the bikini’s I will be buying only to be miserable on the beach wondering why I’m that girl with the “great personality”, the definition of body image in our culture will always be a quest striving for the perfect form.

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