I read a blog called Sociological Images, because the way that images are used to influence society and behavior fascinates me. A lot of what we believe, as a culture, is constructed around what we see in popular mass media. Lately, they did a post on this ad:
Sociological Images points out that this picture implies girls jump from prepubescent to rocking sex machines in one fell swoop, with no puppy fat or oddly shaped growing bosoms or acne or whatnot. That’s bad enough, since any normal girl will look at her normal body and think, “I am weird. Thus, I am bad.” There are strong odds that Jill Average will have a couple of extra pounds or a nose that’s grown before the rest of her face has caught up or hands/feet that seem too big for her arms/legs … all the stuff that makes the adolescence appearance so awkward. Even if she wins the genetic lottery and is all proportional and skinny, now she must have ginormous knockers to be “pretty”. Anyone who fails to meet these criteria is de-facto NOT pretty … which can also be read as “ugly”.
Is it surprising that 77% of teen girls think of their appearance in negative terms? Or that 50% of normal weight girls (and 1/4 normal sized boys) say they are too fat? Eating disorders in teens continue to increase. Girls as young as 3 years old have become devotees of the thin ideal. Obviously, media images matter. The kinds of ads like the one above are a problem.
How on earth am I going to keep my daughters safe from this bullshit?