Social Question

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Why hasn't the popular media version of beauty changed?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (23298 points ) December 5th, 2011

I was reading this article, which essentially describes how this clothing company takes the heads of real women and photoshops them onto computer generated bodies.
For years, the public has complained about how detrimental the fashion industry and media are for people’s self image. With all of the negative focus on how awful it is, how is it that it keeps moving in the wrong direction, rather than progressing toward promoting a healthy image?

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12 Answers

wonderingwhy's avatar

Sales.

Until the style of advertising you’re referring to either correlates to a meaningful decline in sales or a competitors change in correlates to an increase they have no motivation to deviate from what works.

Paradox25's avatar

Companies only come up with ideas or manufacture products that will sell so in the end the fault is with the consumers themselves, not the companies. As to actually answer your question I’m not sure. Maybe because there is an enormous difference between wanting other people to perceive you as being good vs actually being good.

In the end many people will say and openly promote things/ideas that may very well be a good thing for the betterment of society but behind closed doors or around like minded peers do the opposite of what they preach. Like they say “practice what you preach”. In the end it comes down to what the consumers want to buy, not what they openly preach against.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Honestly, people who are reading how damaging this is aren’t in the majority. I know it’s sad. When I present these articles to my college students, their eyes really open up.

digitalimpression's avatar

Because the popular societal version of beauty hasn’t changed.

JLeslie's avatar

Wow. I did not know this was happening. Unbelievable. I guess it doesn’t matter, because until we outlaw photoshopping, what’s the difference? it isn’t real women either way. The UK doesn’t allow photoshopping if it creates false advertising. Like you can’t take away wrinkles if you are selling wrinkle cream.

I think it keeps going in the wrong direction because most people like to look at beautiful people, beautiful bodies, and so the ads are working. Money makes the world go around.

blueiiznh's avatar

Ironically I was in H&M a week ago as my daughter likes there clothes.
I did notice that something seemed odd about their Mother/Daughter type photo displays.

I really don’t buy based on the marketing but I do see your point of it moving backwards. I guess it rolls down to the all mighty dollar and how their marketing department thinks they are going to help sales. I find it demeaning on many levels.

fundevogel's avatar

As someone that does 3d digital modeling I really doubt those are computer generated bodies. Looks like good old-fashioned photoshopping to me. Huffpo needs to fact check before they trot a brand new-same-old outrage.

Still lame, but nothing we haven’t seen a million times before.

wundayatta's avatar

Maybe having a bad self image is not as bad as people might think. Sure, it feels bad, but it also motivates people. I think I saw a study about that, not long ago. But whether or not there is evidence for this, think about it theoretically. If you felt bad about yourself, wouldn’t you want to improve? If you were depressed, wouldn’t you want to do better so you could maybe not be quite so depressed? I know in my life depression and poor self image have moved me to act. When I feel good, there’s no need to do anything.

I think that we buy into advertising, even if it is “unhealthy” for our self-esteem, because we want to improve ourselves. The direction we move in to improve ourselves really doesn’t matter, so long as society approves.

If I’m right, then people actually secretly welcome the news that they aren’t good enough. It motivates them.

If I’m right, then this pattern of behavior will never change. Beauty will always be one step away. Complaints about how damaging the images of beauty are will never get anywhere. People don’t actually want to think they are good enough as they are. They want to know they aren’t good enough so they can work their asses off to get better. And in the process, make a lot more money.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

For some people, a low self image drives them to hide in their homes, fearful that they will offend someone else with their appearance. Perhaps it drives them to starve themselves, or abuse laxatives, of become addicted to plastic surgery. Sure, that’s productive.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think low self image or low self esteem is good, but I do get what @wundayatta is saying. I am not fond of seeing heavy models in ads. It has nothing to do with not wanting to look at them, I just think many Americans need to learn or relearn what a norrnal weight is. I am not saying I want stick thin models everywhere, but just within reasonable healthy weight. High fashion will always be thin models probably, but I am just talking ads in general.

For the most part, companies are going to use models that appeal to their target market more than anything. That the specific market idenitifies with. High fashion is usually purchased by thinner women. When I am with my friends who have a lot of money, most of the women are thin to average, none are very overweight. I am sure there are obese wealthy women, but I bet statistically fewer than lower socio economic classes. The recent add that threw me was an add in my GYN’s office for some product for when you are done with your family, maybe it was an IUD? Not sure. And, the woman in the print add was easily 50 pounds overweight, and I though why did they use her? But, I guess maybe she is the average woman now? The average women with 2.5 young kids.

josie's avatar

Why should it change? Somebody is selling something somebody is buying. If that’s what the buyer wants to see, what would make the seller change?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If you don’t want to attribute it to anything other than natural causes, just chalk it up to the evolutionary process. The standard of beauty used is greatly a product of being hard wired in the human psyche; the same way a rose smells better to most people than urine or a skunk.

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