Alright everybody! I chose my topic for my “This I Believe” essay. I believe in Disney! So tell me, what role has Disney played in your life?
Alright everybody! I chose my topic for my “This I Believe” essay. I believe in Disney! So tell me, what role has Disney played in your life?
So for my AP United States History class we have to write a research paper; my topic is the gay rights movement in America. Today I began reading one of the books that I chose as a source
And I opened it up to the dedication page and found this
And if you don’t think that’s one of the sweetest and most romantic things ever then get out of my face
I have to write a paper on what I believe in for my class. It’s due Monday, so I’d like some suggestions!
What are some things to believe in?
Beauty standards in society have changed drastically over the years to show us that bigger is certainly not better. Not only is it causing health issues for our youth, it’s driving people to depression, giving people unrealistic expectations as to how they, and others, should look, and setting a bad example for our growing generations. At first it was widely accepted to be pressured in this way, people saw celebrities and models giving in to the trend of being too thin, but now people are taking a stand.
If you google “beautiful women” a bunch of would-be Victoria’s Secret models come up. All of the women are half naked, size two or smaller with big boobs. The thing is, most of these pictures have been photoshopped. Not all women can achieve this level of anorexic thinness and still look healthy and beautiful, because that’s not how the body is supposed to work. Beauty standards haven’t always been like this, though. I went to stylecaster.com to find a timeline of beauty throughout the ages and they’ve taken me back 600 years to find what beauty used to look like compared to how it is viewed in 2014 taking into consideration body type and makeup use. This starts in the 1400s and continues into the 16th century with the renaissance era. This time period appreciated full-bodied women more than any other era, as depicted in several paintings, such as this one à The women viewed in these lovely works of art would be considered overweight today, possibly even obese, yet, they were among the most beautiful then. Not much makeup was worn other than to make the lips a dark red, but a big trend was having light blond hair. This is where some people believe the term “blonds have more fun” came from. That has persisted through the ages, but another thing that was popular then that hasn’t continued is that pale skin was considered to be far more beautiful than tanned skin. Later, in the Victorian era is when women started to become more body conscious. Their value was based on how small they could get their waistline. This is when corsets started their popularity. Unfortunately, this caused many health issues because women would have their corsets woven so tight that they could hardly breathe. We all have probably seen Pirates of the Caribbean. In the beginning of the very first movie, Elizabeth Swan complains to her maid that the corset has been pulled too tight and just a few hours later she passes out because of lack of oxygen. Classic. Not only that, but women would often times break ribs. On the other hand, they would wear layers upon layers of clothes in order to make their butts look better. As for makeup, bold colors were not worn by high-class women because it was so commonly used by prostitutes and was thought to look trashy(A Timeline of Sexy Defined Through the Ages). Soon came the famous 1920s where Gatsby was based and Babe Ruth’s career took off, also, the beginning of the “flappers”. Flappers were considered scandalous because they rose their hemlines and cut off their hair. Women chose not to show off their curves, wanting to take on a more masculine silhouette. Some women would even wrap their chests to give the illusion that their boobs were smaller. The once trashy, bold makeup was now considered sexy, being pale was another factor in beauty again, and high, pencil thin eyebrows became a big hit(ATSDTA). The next two decades brought us “Hollywood’s Golden Age”. Women on the big screen started becoming body-conscious again. Because of the emphasis on arms and legs women would try to gain muscle tone. It was during this time that the padded cotton bra and the “little black dress” were introduced. Women wanted fitted dress again, rather than the flat flapper look. Having a shape to your body became the trend again in the 50s because this was more attractive to men seeking a wide to start a family with. The “hourglass figure” came about now which made people like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly look like the most beautiful women around. It was this time that the greatest rule, in my opinion, of fashion came about. Basically, stay classy. Women rarely left the house with too much skin showing. Hair was most commonly done in curls that were just longer than the shoulders and skin care became more prevalent now than it ever had been before(ATSDTA). The 1960s is when women became overly obsessed with becoming “rail thin” like the actress “Twiggy”. Two opposite styles came about in the 60s: The Swinger, who were people like Twiggy who chose mini-skirts and high boots, had classic “tarantula” eyelashes (fake eyelashes with heavy mascara applied) and short pixie haircuts; and the classic hippy who chose to wear bell-bottom jeans and platform shoes, they also rarely wore makeup and had long hair. The view on body image didn’t really change into the 70s, but hairstyles, as they always have, evolved, and having long, curly, light hair became popular. This was also about the point in time where being tan started to be more desirable(ATSDTA). “The aerobics exercise craze of the ’80s further emphasized fitness for women. Women were expected to maintain a certain weight, but still appear toned, all without being too muscular. With all these body stipulations, it’s no wonder that the prevalence of eating disorders skyrocketed throughout the decade.” As for hair, “bigger is better” seemed to be their mantra (even for eyebrows!)(ATSDTA). The 90s brought us the grunge phase. Women didn’t wear much make up, and looking, really, like you didn’t care was considered cool. This is when the midriff became popular, as well, which, by proxy, made the bellybutton ring more popular. Finally, we’ve hit this century(ATSDTA)! The 2000s were said to be the era of “choice and expression’. This is what stylecaster has to say: “Although we’re currently in an age where women have more choice than ever before, women are still expected to live up to an impossibly thin body shape. The fact is that now, more than ever, the price of beauty is extremely high. This is evident in the huge surge in plastic surgeries that have taken place in the last decade… We’re also seeing a re-emergence of almost every major fashion trend of decades past, from shoulder pads to cinched waists. We aren’t all copy-cats though, the emergence of super-low-rise jeans, Juicy sweat suits, and trucker hats is unique to the early Aughts.” It seems as though the early 2000s weren’t really sure what they wanted out of fashion, so they chose a little of everything. Now, in the 2000-teens, in my opinion, beauty standards are simply getting worse, showing more in the media to children and making the standards for your body even thinner, but it’s gotten to a point where some women are finally finding the courage to speak out. Author Melissa Shrader noted in one of her papers for the University of Central Florida that “Current statistics indicate that while the average woman in the United States is 5’4” and weighs 140 pounds, the average American model is 5’11” and weighs 117 pounds (National Eating Disorder Associ
Beauty isn’t something exclusively viewed by teenagers and women. There are things that children see, too, that impact their everyday lives. I remember watching That’s So Raven as a child. There was one episode that I watched where Raven had entered a fashion competition and was going to show her designs off, but her producer told her that she didn’t have “the look” and made the dress in a smaller size to be shown on the runway. Later in the episode Raven sews the dress herself and tells the producer in front of all the cameras “in case you didn’t notice, people come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re all beautiful. Put that in your magazine.” This was very empowering to me as a little fat girl who got picked on all the time. Raven Symone wasn’t a small girl, but she captured her own beauty and owned it, and Disney was helping her do it. Of course, that was in 2001. Ten years later, I was babysitting a couple of kids who were watching an episode of Shake It Up, a new Disney television show, when I heard one of the characters say “I could just eat you up! You know… If I ate.” I was appalled to hear something like that come from a Disney Channel show, especially after the scandal they’d just had with Demi Lovato and her eating disorder. Turns out, Demi was all over that. She’d tweeted about it almost immediately after the shows air, “I find it really funny how a company can lose one of their actress’ from the pressures of an EATING DISORDER and yet still make joke about that very disease… #nice” Disney was listening and tweeted Demi back “@ddlovato - we hear you & are pulling both episodes as quickly as possible & reevaluating them. It’s NEVER our intention to make light of eating disorders!” They may have “reevaluated” but there were many kids that watched that episode when it aired that could do one of two things: think it’s okay to joke about the disorder, which could seriously hurt someone if they said it at school, or they could think it’s okay for them to have the disorder. The things said on television, in magazines, by the people around us affect our opinions and the opinions of the younger generations and could be seriously detrimental to us as a society and is this à the message we want to be sending our children? It’s not just women, either.
Although women are more openly given their expectations, men are not exempt from the pressures of “beauty”. Dennis Quaid confessed his “manorexia” became an issue when he lost 40 pounds for a role; Elton John said that he battled bulimia with a good friend of his, Princess Di; Richard Simmons, the diet craze guy, started taking laxatives and diet pills religiously to lose weight. Those three men, and many more, were able to kick their bad habits, but only with treatment. To follow that up, some women who have had their eating disorder publicized are Christina Ricci (star from the Adams Family and Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow); American Idol’s very first winner, Kelly Clarkson; Portia Del Rossi(Ellen De Generes’ wife); (another American Idol favorite who now stars in the hit television show Smash)Katherine McPhee; and child-star Mary Kate Olson. Kids and teenagers look up to celebrities as role models, and when they here that Demi Lovato or Christina Ricci had eating disorders, kids think it’s okay, because what the media makes it sound glamorous and doesn’t say is the negative affects the disorders have had on x, y, z’s life, like Isabella Caro for example. She was a French Model and Actress who gave nude photos of her food deprived body to an Italian advertising campaign to raise awareness on how anorexia effects your body. Isabella died at age 28 because of her disease, but you don’t often hear about that when the media speaks. It’s often more of a joke or made to look like the new “weight loss craze”, telling us all that it works, not that it kills. 1.2% of the world’s population (That’s 84 million people) will battle with anorexia in their lifetime, 2% (140 million)will battle with bulimia. Eatingdisorderhope.com says that up to 8.2% of female Americans will suffer from either anorexia or bulimia in their life. That’s nearly 26 million people in the united states alone. Anorexia is the leading cause of death due to mental illness.
Men are not exempt from society’s standard of beauty. Fortunately, it’s just not as prevalent. Men don’t get shamed nearly as much for being overweight because women, statistically, go for men with personality where men seek out women with looks. This, of course, is not true of all cases. Men, as well, are affected by the media and Hollywood. There aren’t very many overweight hero-types or lanky billionaires in Hollywood. Even Capitan America shot up several inches as well as gaining significant muscle mass when he went through his experimentation process. You google “sexy men” and they’re all perfectly tan with toned muscles and six-packs. This, just like the 00 size expectation for women, is not achievable for all men, nor is it desirable to all women. Still, if you could look as good as Will Smith or Chris Evans and have all of those women swooning at your picture, wouldn’t you?
Recapturingbeauty.byu.edu. says, “What woman doesn’t want to be beautiful? Women want to please and will go to extreme measures to achieve the beauty ideal. Over the centuries, women have mauled and manipulated just about every body part - lips, eyes, ears, waists, skulls, foreheads, stomachs, breasts and feet - that did not fit into the cookie-cutter ideal of a particular era’s ideal of beauty and perfection. Women have suffered, sacrificed and punished themselves under the tyranny of beauty.” Why is it, though, that the “ideal” body image is so impossible for women to achieve? Why is body shaming so prevalent in our culture? Have you ever seen Mean Girls? There’s a scene where the three “popular” girls are standing in front of a mirror criticizing various aspects of their bodies, then when Cady (starred by Lindsey Lohan) was looked to, she was expected to give an example of something she hated from her own body. People not only body shame other, but themselves as well. Although men are, inevitably, effected by the beauty trend, it has been much worse for women for a long time, mostly because men facilitate it (sorry guys!). Guys want to be able to have stubble and can have leg hair, arm pit hair, pubes, etc., but when it’s a girl she is considered undesirable. Yes, it’s the cultural norm for women to shave, but some don’t have time, and some simply don’t care. It’s a two way street, yet, girls are the ones who have this standard of living. One thing that really hits me with the “I need to be thinner” trend that, let’s get real, is probably never going to go away completely, is that having a layer of fat is necessary for women’s health. It’s obviously true that having too much body fat is unhealthy, but so is not having enough of it! Your body fat can affect your fertility, can cause issues with your immune system, can cause a lock of energy, and can lessen your body’s production of estrogen. This is true of both sexes, of course. And many guys think that having no estrogen wouldn’t be too bad, but low levels of the hormone can raise your chances of osteoporosis significantly. Also, having stretch marks does not mean you’re fat or were fat. Stretch marks naturally appear when you gain and lose weight rapidly, so most people get them in puberty. In the news not too long ago Scarlet Johansson got shamed for wearing a bikini to the beach that showed her stretch marks. Not only that, but she got hate for having cellulite on her things, as most women do. It’s such a surprise, isn’t it? Even Scarlet Johansson, one of Hollywood’s sexiest women has stretch marks. Yes, it’s true. The people on your television are real people, too.
Luckily, women are starting to take a stand. Celebrities are realizing the impact they make on youth and our culture as a whole and they want to set a better example. There’s a quote from a Facebook page called Health-Bent that reads “If Beyoncé doesn’t need a thigh gap, neither do I.” Beyoncé who has been named the Sexiest women in Hollywood and has recently voiced her opinion on photoshopping her photos for H&M magazine. When she found out that they wanted to “touch up” her photos, she was outraged. She told them to leave the photos untouched or not to use them at all. Similarly, just a few months ago a picture of young popstar Lorde was photoshopped to remove her blemishes and then put online. She quickly posted another picture of herself on her twitter account that was unedited, telling her fans to “remember, flaws are okay. J” She then later posted a picture of herself on Instagram while she was in Paris, hair up in a messy bun and acne cream on her cheeks. This is a reminder to all of her young fans that she is real, too. She’s only recently turned 17, and teenagers get acne! Another stance that was taken was taken by Dove. It’s called the “campaign for real beauty”, which was to rival Victoria’s Secret’s “Love My Body” Campaign. “Billboard, television, and magazine ads depicted women who were wrinkled, freckled, pregnant, had stretch marks, or might be seen as fat. The campaign has generated commercial success, media sensation, and endorsements from celebrities, gender scholars, and professional associations.”(Feminist Consumerism and Fat Activists)
Two years ago movie star Jennifer Jawrence was quoted in an interview with Elle Magazine that she refuses to starve herself for a role. “I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner.’”
Overweight actress Melissa McCarthy has been criticized for her weight for years since she became famous for her role as Suki in Gilmore Girls. “This year reviewer Rex Reed branded Melissa ‘tractor-sized’ ‘female hippo’ when reviewing movie Identity Theft.” Melissa later told the New York Times “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate.” Despite the hate she’s gotten in the past, Melissa and Rebel Wilson (best known for her role as Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect) have made a pact to maintain their weight.
Mariska Hargitay, daughter of the 50/60’s sex symbol Jayne Mansfeild, has been dubbed “bootylicious” but says she’s curvy and proud. She’s told Ladies’ Home Journal that she “likes her curves because they scream ‘I’m a mama!’”. The same website gives Scarlet Johansson as an example for booylicious ladies of Hollywood. Scarlet was quoted by InStyle Magazine in 2006 saying “I’m curvy – I’m never going to be 5’ 11” and 120 pounds. But I feel lucky to have what I’ve got.” Shakira told Self Magazine “I think men appreciate confidence more than perfection.” In an interview with UK’s Women’s Fitness, actress Kate Winslet says that “having a little extra meat on my bones” makes her feel sexier. And, my personal favorite from the list, Queen Latifah tol Glamour “I realized long ago that something I did not want to be measured by was my waistline.” The list goes on and on. Women are learning to embrace their bodies and love their curves, as they should.