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Apples and Pears
by deb

       The female models on the cover of leading fashion magazines represent one percent of the human population. Me? I am from the 99% of the human population. Apples and pears are the general body type used to describe how your body fat accumulates on your body. More soft in the waist and abs? You're like me-- an apple. More soft around the hips and thighs-- that's a pear.
       Mass media exploiting such visual mediums such as television, music videos, commericals are powerful socializing agents which bombard us the ideal image of what a woman should appear: tall, leggy, svelte, bosomy and blond-- 1% of the population. This image evokes a Barbie (TM) doll! This is a terribly unrealistic image. The advertising institution uses mass media to create an American ideal body image of a thin svelte female image. I am disgusted as I fail to find positive, diverse images of healthful women and girls representative 99% of human population. We want to achieve the fantastical 'Barbie (TM)' look.
       I am medium height, penguin bellied and Asian hyphenate American. struggling daily to come to terms with my body image, there is a direct relationship between my mood and how I tolerate my body. When I am happy, I like my body. I even think it looks sexy. But more often, I am not tolerant of my belly and body and I want sleek, flat abs and toned arms. I remember sketching physically my actual self (reality) versus ideal self (fantasy.) Standing at the supermarket checkout line full of the fashion magazines with predominating thin white models decreases the tolerance for my self image.
       The issue of sexploitation of women in order to promote a product such as a vehicle, cosmetic, fragrance, music is related to women's purchasing practice. For example, when do you see a regular (non-model) person advertise for the leading cosmetic and fragrance line? My point is to make you aware how powerful these images are and question why the mass media presents the images the way they want us to see it? Deconstruct reality-- ask why! The very magazines and mass media images are marketed towards women- we have been socialized since birth "to shop." Traditionally, it has been the woman in the household to do the shopping- we as daughters, cousins, friends have internalized this role. The mass media carefully targets the female population. It is no accident we shop, and linger over pretty, sexy displays.
       Next time, if you catch yourself in a couch potato mood-- and you happen to channel surf on to a music video, watch closely how female images are portrayed in relation to the men. What you will mostly see are fantasy girls on these pop culture music videos seemingly driven by a desperate powerful deep instinct to be dependent on the man. The woman is often devalued as an independent, soft-bodied, intelligent, diverse, unique human being. Next time, take a closer look at images all around you: and question why it is presented to you in such a fashion. We use our eyes to process more than 75% of information around us.
       Empower yourself with the knowledge that mass media and popular culture is constantly bombarding with unrealistic images of the female body type. Love yourself for what you are, and you will feel better about yourself. I live with that knowledge everyday. And, get off your glutes and take a walk to the library or the park.

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