Western Media covers almost the entire world and accompanied by the internet, their reach might continue to grow. Western television shows, movies, magazines, and other related media conveyed their perception of beauty. Western media has dominated much of the third world countries local media; hence, the influences of Western media on beauty can be most evident within this group. The result was a distortion of their o perception of beauty.
Here is a good example coming from the reading: Fijians revere a body¦features that show that the body is strong, hard-working, and healthy¦Thinness¦was seen as some kind of social loss or neglect (McClelland par. 7-8). This was the Fijians original perception of beauty when their government announced the installation of a television network which included western programs. Years later, this perception suddenly changed. However, the influence of western media acts only as step one to adopting the changes in perception.
Step two is when the individual accepts these changes. Hence, it naturally falls as the individuals choice. On the other hand, western media has still created a false imagery of beauty which dominated the other cultures perception on the subject. This may have resulted to the creation of a greater rift between two or more ethnic groups. The United States boasts a diverse population which can be separated into different ethnic groups”white Americans somewhat making up the majority.
Whites”especially women”dominate western media; hence, this enabled them to be the role models in terms of beauty. Among the minority groups, many have tried to make their selves look like their favorite celebrities and personalities from the western media; trying to look thin and white which for them, defined sexy. They simply felt insecure with the way they look and how others reacted: ¦put white baby powder on my cheeks just to look white, which was said by a 19-year old South African, East Indian girl (McClelland par.
11). Insecurity on her God-given physique has made her act this way. The whites may seem to be the perfect role models. However, there are a lot of potential role models from the minor ethnic groups that can be equally beautiful, sexy, and sophisticated when compared to the white role model. Members of the minority need a role model of their own in order to avoid the mishaps of eating disorders and other illnesses”paranoia, insecurity, and vanity are just some.
Unhealthy eating habits are a result of a persons insecurity with his or her own body”usual eating disorder patients were women. There are two types of eating disorders: (1) Anorexia (self-starvation) and (2) Bulimia (induced vomiting). Both were equally regarded as a dangerous habit, especially the latter. From some distorted perspective, many still perform such acts in order to look good”being thin is considered sexy. A woman performing these acts may appear sexy, which does not seem to wrong. However, the sacrifice that she had to make can be seen as an act of desperation.
Not only that, these two habits can damage the bodys system which can be fatal when not cured. The influence of the western media seems too powerful to counter-influence it. The ethnic disparities may continue to grow and the anorexic and bulimic might remain the same. However, I believe that there is still a way to change the habits of the old and replace these distorted images with ones that would not affect the way people live.
McClelland, Susan. (August 14, 2000). Distorted Images. Macleans.