(Updated October 29, 2012)
AAA FULL-LENGTH PAPER
AN EXPLORATORY CROSS-CULTURAL CASE STUDY
Brianna Feman, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Introduction Since the early 1890s, women have been used to help advertise products (Allen 1996). Ever since then, women have been given this ideal image to look like. It was physically perfect to be 5’’2’ and 140lbs (Allen 1996). As the flappers and 1920s rolled around, being extremely thin was in style. This quickly diminished and by the 1940s and 50s and the image of being thin with fuller breasts were popular (Allen 1996). Eventually by the 1960s, things started to change and for the worse. Twiggy, a model that was 89lbs and 5’’6’ became extremely high profiled and idealized (Allen 1996). She helped set a standard of this image that other models, and people, couldn’t achieve. This was the beginning of the unobtainable “perfect” look. By 1970 and to about present day, the look has changed to a healthier, full-breasted image, but women are still portraying an impossible look due to photo shopping and airbrushing (Allen 1996). This standard may be harder to achieve today then ever before and especially in present day. Americans are exposed to over 3,000 ads every single day (Coy 2010). Although some people explain that they don’t pay attention to advertising, it is subconsciously taken in. Advertisements don’t only sell products, but they sell love, concepts of sexuality, and most important, normalcy. Advertisements most importantly tell women how they should look like. It makes women feel that they have to look and be a certain way; therefore, women are now more vulnerable and self-conscious then ever before. Advertisements surround the viewer with the image of ideal female beauty. Women learn from a very early age that we must spend an enormous amount of time, energy, and money striving to achieve this ideal “perfect” look. In result, if one fails to look this way, the feeling of guilt and failure is given to the viewer until they learn to fix it. The truth of the matter is, no one actually looks like this, even the model. When looking at a commercial or ad, the viewer is actually looking at four women. One woman’s legs, one woman’s eyes, one woman’s lips, and one women’s hair put together to look like one perfect women (Coy 2010). Therefore, we are trying to achieve something will actually never will. My name is Brianna Feman and I plan to propose that women are forced to look perfect because of all the advertisements and media that are displayed making women think we need to look this way and men think that’s an ideal human being. I would do my fieldwork in many different parts of America, but I think the most appropriate place would be New York City. New York City is the perfect place to conduct this research because there are such a variety of individuals living there that I could get numerous opinions to come to a conclusion. I plan to ask, why do you think women are forced to look perfect? Do you think the media and advertisements have anything to do with this? And what pressure do women feel? These questions are extremely important to answer because it will give insight into what modern day women actually feel. This proposal is beneficial to the local society and humanity in general because it will show the problems women are facing. This could be one of the steps to help stopping all these vulgar and false images of women.
Literature Review Our generation has become a generation of “desperate to be perfect wives, mother and professionals-Tiger Moms” (Spar 2012). Over the past 20 years, Debora Spar has studied how women have it wrong in America. No woman can physically work 60 hours a week and be a full time mom, but women are still berating themselves to be this perfect person. As of 2012, women earn about 77 cents to every man’s dollar (Spar 2012). Therefore, women have to work twice as hard as men to