Celebrity and Media Effects For centuries women have fought to be accredited as the self-assured, mature, intelligent and competent creatures we are. To be accepted with our blemishes as well as our fabulousness and above all, to accept and love ourselves. We were succeeding and were almost there. However, through the emergence of media communication and the more recent establishment of the internet, value systems in terms of the body have been reformed, thus impinging upon ones self perception concerning body image and identity.
Western culture now sees personal appearance as imperative to success and power, with countless magazines and films geared towards the ‘ideal’ of being thin. The media and advertising are ultimately responsible for this perception as they possess acute mastery in their influential abilities. The abnormal depictions of waif thin celebrities in the media, such as Geri Halliwell, have fuel led an alarming increase in anorexia which in turn has caused a radical escalation of internet websites promoting and rationalizing anorexia. Vulnerable young women are thus extremely susceptible to these influences and it is for this very reason that these sites, as well as the unattainable images of celebrities, need to be terminated.
This essay will be discussing the promotion of anorexia over the internet as well as the necessity of the discontinuation thereof by referring to media effects and celebrity discourse. Celebrities saturate the pages of magazines, commercials, films and television. Everywhere one looks we are inundated by these ethereal stars whom we “never actually know as real people, only as they are found in the media.” (Dyer, 1979: 21; Watson, 2003: 170).
Celebrities are constantly in the media for their outrageous or strange antics. Nowadays it doesn’t take a lot to be known as a ‘celeb’. The influence of the ‘Celebrity world’ has led to extreme effects, especially amongst youths, as most magazines are full of tabloids and attention seeking articles which speak little truth. Not only this, but the images of celebrities are usually ...
Talented actresses, singers and models are idealized not for their abilities but for their lifestyles. “Celebrity is sustained not by someone’s excellence or ability in their chosen profession, but almost entirely by notoriety and infamy…
attention is directed towards, and in the final instance sustained by, the drama of the stars ‘private’ life.” (Watson, 2003: 173-174).
The media promotes and reflects, through the images of celebrities, the current mainstream culture standards for body shape and size and importance of beauty. The media reflects images of thinness and link these images to other symbols of prestige, happiness, love and success… “The star is seen as an object of desire” (Watson, 2003: 171).
For women, repeated exposure to this thin, even emaciated ideal via the media, can lead to feelings of inadequacy and thus the internalization of this ideal, even though this ideal is realistically unattainable. Little girls, adolescents and even older women view these celebrities as role models and successful women on which they feel they should format their own lives.
They feel thus, that if it is slimness that will assist them in their pursuits of happiness then they too will follow in the footsteps of their role models, which can lead to the onslaught of eating disorders. When women’s magazines devote a proliferation of pages to the “best” and “worse” celebrities and when celebrities are ridiculed for their “spare tire” or “buns of peel” women in a worse off bodily condition are acutely deterred and feelings of worthlessness can also lead to eating disorders. These celebrities who impose constricted images of the ideal body type transgress upon individual identity composition. Congruous representations of women are invariably exhibited. One is rarely presented with an image of an overweight celebrity as being desirable and thus a standard body type remains void from publication.
It happened suddenly, surprisingly and overnight. One day I was a child and the next I was a sex object. Catching everyone from friends to teachers, parents to siblings off guard I had grown into a women and to some, a piece of female specimen that welcomed sexual advances, harassment and jokes. The one thing that has defined my womanhood more then anything else has been my breasts. I was thrown, ...
This causes an individuals choice of identity to be overpowered by outside influences such as celebrities- “The star is seen as an object of desire and is studied in terms of the ways in which spectators identify with, find meaning in, and gain a certain fulfillment from her image.” (Watson, 2003: 171).
“The body is the medium through which messages about identity are transmitted,” (Benson, 1997: 123).
The body and the self are in relation to one another and a toned body is seen as morally as well as physically in shape. Thus, through the dictatorship of these skeletal images of celebrities, women are basing their identities on their body image. Women thus, become fixated on various methods that will result in their perceived bodily identities.
Anorexia has thus become problematic and in extreme cases, suicide has become a reality as a result of the inability to achieve society’s ideals. “Anorexia Nervosa involves intense fear of gaining weight, disturbed body image, refusal to maintain normal weight, and dangerous measures to lose weight.” (Weston, 2001: 607) These distressing measures taken to alter self image causes a shift in ones identity with women becoming obsessed with appearances. An over emphasis on surface value may mask who an individual truly is and render that individual empty and lonely. These shifts in identity are experienced not only by women trying to live up to celebrities lifestyles but also by celebrities themselves who have to live in that very stressful lifestyle.
Geri Halliwell is a prime example of one of the many celebrities who are consumed by their bodily image. Starting her career as a member of one of the first ever all girl bands, the Spic Girls, permitted her instant admittance into the world of the stars. Known as ‘Ginger Spice’s he stole the hearts of millions of little girls, teenagers and women across the globe. Becoming an instant icon she assumed the responsibility of being a role model for many women.
Abstract Communication had its verbal and nonverbal understandings, but they also have their misunderstandings. Body language has industrialized itself with different types of language that were brought up by the society. Men and women weren’t use to these body languages towards the similar gender. Miscommunication has been a problem when dealing with these differences. Men and women continue to ...
After a prosperous period she left the band to pursue a solo career which was the inception of her eating disorder. Being of average weight, Geri felt she did not fit the ideal category of what a body should look like. So began her downward spiral of starvation, binge eating and excessive exercise. Geri lost a phenomenal amount of weight and when she released her new album, Its Raining Men, so she revealed her new image. The media received this new identity with open arms stating that Geri had transformed into a new and improved person. Women who previously held her in high regard would thus consider the idea that they too should make some adjustments because Geri seemed so much happier according to the media so inevitably, ‘so would they.’ The fact that so many women, both young and old looked to Geri as a role model is problematic.
What kind of message is Geri creating regarding bodily image? I believe that she is only contributing to the already established negative bodily representations in society. It is due to pursuing celebrities such as Geri and idealizing the perfect body, being a thin body that has been the cause of an explosion of pro-anorexia sites on the internet. Look up quotes from Geri. Dr.
Michael Strobe r, director of the eating disorder center at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute says, “A woman becomes anorexic because her soul has been battered by the unreasonable expectation that you can never be too thin and that fat-any fat-equals failure.” Many women who have obtained anorexia and other eating disorders as a result of societies pressures on appearance have turned to the internet for consolation and companionship. These rapidly spreading sites promote and try to rationalize anorexia as a lifestyle choice rather than a mental disorder. Sites comprise of labels such as; ‘Emaciate me’, ‘Dying to be thin’, ‘Thinspiration’, ‘Food is Evil’, and ‘Wasting Away on the Net’ and newsgroups are titled, ‘Puking Pals’, and ‘Beautiful by Bones.’ These sites lionize women, such as Geri Halliwell, with their spinal columns and rib cages projecting out. These sites are mainly established by adolescents who are looking for comfort and familiarity in fellow anorexics.
Media and society are often looked at as a source of daily entertainment, gossip and news. Every day, people are constantly exposed to thousands of images of glamour, beauty, celebrities, and much more. The media is so compelling that it has the power to change what people believe in. The images that are shown repeatedly make a way into teenagers mind and they want to be a part of what the media ...
The disturbing sites provide information on how to loose a great deal of weight quickly by offering ‘tips’ on the latest diet pills, which chemicals to take to make you throw up, how to hide your eating disorder from your friends and family and even goes as far as to lend advice on how to hide your weight loss from the doctor by putting weights in your pockets. The newsgroups / forums and chat rooms allow women with anorexia to interact in a community where there is a support network that continuously rationalizes that starving themselves is acceptable. Many of these anorexics believe that anorexia is a healthy lifestyle choice because it allows them greater social identification and enhanced self esteem. Thus, these women feel there is nothing wrong with their lifestyle choice and so cause conflict with the opposition by launching pro-ano sites. The question of whether these sites would trigger the development of anorexia in other vulnerable victims is extremely controversial. One cannot entirely blame the media as being the sole cause of eating disorders, one must also investigate the sufferer, their identity, character and background…
However, as Holly Hoff of the National Eating Disorder Association says, “with the pressures to be thin in our culture, these websites are like placing a loaded gun in the hands of someone who is feeling suicidal.”.