Ad Images and the Effect on Girls' Self-Esteem - Your Thoughts?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DaisyFace, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    There's always been a lot of talk about how skinny models, barbie dolls, impossibly-beautiful actresses etc gives our daughters false ideas about beauty and leads to negative body-images.

    I had never questioned this theory (which does sound pretty logical) until recently.

    I found something online ranting about how the impossible proportions of Barbie Dolls were negatively influencing young women - and then a MAN came back with the equally logical argument that HE grew up playing with GI Joe and assorted Superhero action figures. All these "guy" dolls sported huge muscles and tiny waists....images of male perfection that could never be achieved in real life.

    So how come men are not suffering body-image issues based upon highly-muscled action figures?


    So....what do you think? Are girls suffering because of glitzy ads and skinny Barbie Dolls? Are boys suffering trying to emulate super heroes?

    Or is this just an unproven theory?

    Meanwhile, society continues to give women and girls mixed-messages about values....

    Personally? I think it's impossible to take a young girl shopping without coming away feeling as though fashion-designers are trying to make even toddlers into "sex symbols". It's disgusting!
  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    DF, in my humble opinion the media & fashion are giving girls "role models" that are vain, selfish & have bodies & faces that no normal, healthy young woman can hope to emulate/achieve. AND in fact, I think our girls are becoming desensitized to the degrading & sexualizing of their bodies/persons through the media. My therapist & I were discussing just that today.

    The young man (men) in my life don't seem to have the same reaction to the role models of their time. I wonder if that MAN isn't oversimplifying things a bit.
  3. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    There is a growing number of boys suffering from body image issues. And.... women are the human equivalent of male peacocks, by nature we are to be the "attracters." The Dove website has some really good stuff on this. Have not looked in the last few months but they had a whole program, name eludes me, to reach out to girls. I still think our society puts more pressure on female sex appeal than it does male-though this is increasing.(in my opinion)
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Some do, but for the most part their brains (and society) works differently for them. Males are also taught that money/power/fame will do for them what being beautiful does for a female. And plenty are still taught that as males it's their "right" to have a female.

    Some is biological, as the "peacock" example above. Women express visually because men are attracted visually. Males show virility by what they can produce, i.e. bring the mammoth/bear/bacon.

    And that's the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. Love it!
  5. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    My boys..I have 3, age 17 - 24, do NOT like skinny women. In all fairness, I myself have the tendency toward "too skiny" and they HATE that.They would rather be with a "normal" woman who never speaks of her weight, then one who gets all weird all the time, or one who is too skinny. And I'm just saying... their friends like a girl with some meat on her bones. That body type is preferred to boys ,girls aren't thinking clearly. I'm just giving my opinion from a mom and a recovering anorexic.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I dunno. I played with barbies and gee when I was a little girl that Twiggy thing was all the rage. Can't remember it ever phasing me one direction or the other. Actually, can't recall I ever gave much thought to a barbie's shape or even that of models I saw.


    I'm also a huge fan of very old films. In those films the bombshells are NOT shaped like barbie or models. They have great figures, but are actually what many people would think of as somewhat plumpish now days....."full figured". After watching enough males in my life go totally gaga for those bombshells......I never really worried about body image much. Just as many males prefer females with meat on them as do the bone thin type. Actually from males I've talked with over the years (a LOT) MOST seem to prefer a woman to have some weight and curves to her body as opposed to all sharp corners.

    Because I'm such a fan of those films, my girls grew up watching them too. They never really ever wanted to be so called "thin". easy child only had a very brief period of body image issues at about age 13-14. But that had to do with husband teasing her that she had a bubble b utt than any image she saw or played with.

    I don't care what barbie looks like. As far as models.......if a parent teaches her girls what he!! those girls go through to look that way and how much of it is faked with photoshop and airbrushing.....they don't tend to see it as such a wonderful way to be. I taught my girls healthy was preferable to skinny any day.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Yes - I don't think it's a "Barbie" thing either. I mean, I played with stuffed bears, too - but I never got confused about what "real bears" are supposed to look like....or thought that the bears in the zoo would want to cuddle in my bed or anything.

    And does anybody ever watch a major fashion show - where the models are wearing bizarre hairstyles and shoes you can't walk in and these strange "art" dresses and walk away thinking "Boy! That looks great! I'm gonna go dress like that for work!" ? Of course not - we know that it's just for show.

    I think a bigger influence are all these television shows targeted at tweens that show these ultra-sophisticated teens doing these ultra-sophisticated things (think Hannah Montana travels the world).
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I'm not so sure if it's as much the Barbie doll thing as it is about all the movie stars and celebrities now who are so thin that they look like famine victims! Thing of it is, when Twiggy first came out, she was viewed as an oddity because of her extreme thinness. Now she'd blend right in with all the other 90-pound celebrities. Nobody who starves themselves to be that skinny could possibly be healthy. But if a normal girl compares herself to these people that she views as role models, she will see herself as the abnormal one. I follow Macy's on Facebook to keep up with the sales but when they showed a line of clothing obviously being marketed to very young girls on impossibly thin models, they caught a ton of flack on the comments.

    And a lot of camera tricks go in to those print ads too. Not sure where I saw it, maybe the Dove site, but they had a speeded up video of the makeup artists and hair dressers turning a perfectly ordinary looking girl into what looks like a super model. Then when they were done with her, they took her photos and re-contoured her face, made her skin look flawless, whitened her eyes, and made her lips fuller and her eyes bigger. And it's very easy to s-t-r-e-t-c-h photographs to make the subject look even thinner. We used to do it in newspaper advertising all the time to make the picture fit the space - it's called proflexing. So all these models and celebrities that kids want to be like, they don't really exist either!
  9. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Recently I took easy child shopping at the mall. We were trying to find anything to fit her that was somewhat dressy, yet age appropriate, for S/O's graduation ceremony. She was just a few weeks from turning 12 and she is about 5'1 and overweight at about 130lbs for her age and height. But she is not obese, I'd say chunky or baby flubbish still. She has my tendency to junk in the trunk booty and full hips and from her dads side she has thick legs. She is also developing in her chest. yet still, do you think we could find a outfit for her? nope. The teens section had not one thing in her size even if it was inappropriate for the occassion. Literally not one thing in any teen department fit her, not even close. So we went to the women's stores and looked for basic black capri pants for her and a simple blouse. There would have been some things for her if she was my age or older, but not a thing appropriate for a young teen or even a older teen. It was the first time I saw her devestated by being larger than her peers. And she felt as if she weighed 200lbs instead of being a bit chubby. We ended up finding a womens sized sundress that she selected after much upset and distress in all of the shops. I told her it was perfect but in all honesty it was not flattering and if there had been other options I would have gently suggested she could try something else that might be more her style. As it was, this was our largest mall and we'd run the gauntlet of shops. I can absolutely see ads, campaigns, media etc contributing to poor body image and self esteem. I watched something change in her that day and I know she's thought of it often since. I find it such a shame.

    This may be too much information, but it came to mind when I read this post. I was reading a article on a study done about online searches for sexual related sites among adults in the US. The study was meant to see what the true desires of men and women were now that anonymity exists to search online for things that before people were going into seedy shops to check out. A whopping percentage of young men and boys do searches for full figured or "natural" looking womens photos, I believe it was 60+% or something crazy high like that, showing that men of all ages are attracted to women with fuller shapes and meat on their bones. It also showed a surprisingly low number of men and young men searching for thin young women.

    Just goes to show that men DO find women who aren't stick thin attractive as well, often more so due to the appeal for the female "shape" and "curves". I hate that so many young women believe that attractiveness is measured in clothes size and by weight when in reality women with very curvy figures are often more desirable than the slim women that we see young people being taught are the attractive ones as opposed to bigger girls who they are taught are not as appealing.

    I love the Campaign for Real Beauty!!

    I think as parents of daughters, we just have to have open talks with our girls as they are growing up about how they see themselves and especially if they carry extra weight or don't in some other way fit the image these girls think is the definitive epitomy of beauty.
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    MM, your daughter is pretty close in size to me. Sometimes you get lucky in the petites sections for jeans and dressy pants, then you just find a nice blouse from whatever section suits your fancy.
  11. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I put on some weight about 2 years go when I was really unable to walk unassisted and I've been unable to take it off. I was about my easy child's size back then, so I've been managing to rummage through my closet of "no longer fits" items and find some more youthful single pieces to mix and match that she likes. I'm having to teach her that she might not be able to wear some of the trendy for teens graphic tee's etc that she sees her peers wearing but that she can find separates and compile her own outfits and find ways to put her personality into her outfits. She just sees much of the clothes in womens departments as too old for her and I can't blame her.

    The petites sections can be a true anxiety saver. Although I don't mind at all paying to alter her slacks etc for her leg length. I've been trying to coax her into trying plain jeans and plain slacks that to her eye look to grown up but when put together with a more youthful shirt and accessories don't appear that way at all when she's all finished dressing. Summer clothing is much easier as she tends to gravitate to polo type shirts and very pretty shorts which are easy to find in womens sections and are good quality and suit her very much. Winter is much harder for heavy sweaters etc but we're finding a groove for her. Luckily her father and step mom take her to Toronto most summers right before school goes back in and that opens up the stores selections. She has a lot of luck at Tommy Hilfiger, Roots, American Eagle but the only one we have a AE here in town with a limited selection as its a very small shop. Not to mention I can't afford the prices for those brands. They hit the outlet stores in the city and thank goodness she manages to find things she likes. In another couple of years this should get easier as her style will mature and the selections will seem more to her taste.

    Your comment reminded me that we never did check the petites section of one particular store. I should take her. I shop there often as I'm only about an inch or two taller than her, she'll tower over me by the time she hits high school. But for now I'll have to take her to that shop as the petite section may appeal to her and the styles are youthful, many too youthful for me so might be up her alley.
  12. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I don't know if they have Fashion Bug up your way, but their petite pants are usually a pretty good fit for me.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I always had body esteem issues based on the following (in age order):

    Cowlick in my hair (it's still there, which is why I wear it long)
    Frizzy poodle hair (natural curls)
    Glasses (beginning age 8)
    Braces (age 8-10, 12-14 and again 16-17, yes I had them THREE times)
    No hips - therefore NO WAIST (I actually have slight hips now from the pregnancy, it's cool)
    Small breasts (I found out later my Mom was A-cup till she had me, and I'm because as it is, though grandma was F, no joke)

    None of this was related to Barbie. For goodness' sake, she was a DOLL! I had a Barbie and a Christy and a Skipper and a Brooke Shields doll. None of them were realistic except Skipper and she was a "tad" tall. I had no problem with reality. I based what I should look like on my Mom, and as I mentioned she wasn't exactly Barbie. She did, and does, have a waist though. Grr.

    The fact of the matter is, boys' and girls' brains are wired differently. Most guys don't even care how they look till about age 14 (ish, this is a generalization). Jett is more concerned about whether or not he's stupid. He's not. He's also gorgeous, but then I may be a bit biased. He looks like his father, and husband is HOT!!! (LOL, again, bias???)

    I've put on a couple pounds recently - but 2 years ago at the CD gathering? I wore a JUNIORS size 9 or women's 4. I preferred the juniors section, because they make jeans for slightly thicker waists. Or they did. And mid-rise is my friend because of that. Since the hips appeared in the last few months, I'm finding I can't fit in my old pants as well. They're too tight in the HIPS!

    I honestly don't think it's the adult celebrities, either. It's the way Miley Cyrus and Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears DRESS. And what they offer in the stores. I have sent letters to Penney's, Target, Wal-Mart, and a few others. Prostitot wear, is what they offer. In fact I stopped shopping at Penneys for a while because the tween-and-juniors underwear? There was a set that said "TART" right across the butt and one cup of the bra. NOT!