Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

The Real Picture of Success

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The film on the battle of anorexia and eating disorders for women focused on the obsession of normal women to match unhealthy but glorified women.  However, my question is why should the American society, a society that boasts of its ideology in individualism, follow this man-made rule of gaunt women representing success?  The film featured ballet dancers starving themselves but how can the best dancer have no muscle mass to bend and twirl?  Dancers with protruding bones can have no better technique that dancers with lean muscle mass.  The gaunt dancer is an image; and this is an image of delicacy, vulnerability, and in all irony ‘femininity’.   But if men are attracted to this proper femininity with the concave stomach, bone protrusion, and bone deterioration there would be no ‘femininity’ to repopulate  the next culture.  This is a tad counter-productive in the attraction obsession. 

Although eating disorders and anorexia are not brand new to the American pop culture, the evolution of technology in free social networking, video streaming, and blogosphere publishing has narrowed the ‘ideal’ image of a woman’s body.  Women and young girls old enough to turn on a computer can view dieting advertisements, sex symbol advertisements, and significantly more pictures of thin women.  We are exposed to everything on the internet and television but real life bodies.  If teenage girls daily consume these advertisements for the best makeup, the ‘skinny’ jean, and the next dieting tip these eating disorder trends will only continue.

However, demonizing social media for women’s self-esteem is not my intention.  Social media is a huge phenomenon of the interconnected world and its constant battle between ideologies.  While marketers exploit the internet and television to advertise their diet pills, new blogs emerge on the internet slamming the diet culture these advertisements create.  It is a cyclical relationship, but at least gives women both sides of a coin: skinny and fatigued or strong and active. 

To connect these battling ideologies to the anorexia documentary, I think every girl represented in this film have the same goal to be successful in what she loves.  If science teaches us that muscle and healthy fats make both men and women perform their best, there is no significance in the pop culture and  modeling industry.  This pop culture must shift to promoting the empowered woman, not the tiny vulnerable woman in a child’s body.  Our real culture demonstrates that strong active women are the real women to see success outside the entertainment industry.   The CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, the CNN journalist Erin Burnett, and increasing numbers of women enrolling in professional degrees such as Master’s in Business Administration prove that it is the strong woman who makes a career successful. 

In conclusion, the documentary featuring women battling eating disorders and anorexia reveals a dangerous obstacle in our pop and social networking culture.  But to merely demonize this aspect in our culture does little in annihilating it from our culture.  The ideology on women’s success must grow equal to the ideology of men’s success.  Our intellectual capacity and strength empower us to become successful; we have little use in appealing vulnerable and delicate.



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