When most people hear the word “oppression,” what comes to mind might include images of a cruel king mistreating his people, or the discriminatory behavior towards blacks that led to the Civil Rights movement. Yet the scope of this word should not be so limited as to the mere physical. In fact, one of the most prominent and ubiquitous forms of oppression is predominantly mental: the media’s control over the image of the female body.
Although there is not one authority or group of rulers physically enforcing us teenage girls to look or dress a certain way, we are all mentally enslaved to Bordo’s notion of the “Slender Body”. Having being “imprint[ed by] culture,” we are constantly burdened by a pressuring and forceful voice to become a size zero or have a flat stomach (Bordo). Why else would my perfectly healthy high school friend starve herself to under 90 pounds? It is because every time she sees the front cover of Vogue or watches reality television, a demoralizing echo yelling, “you are too fat” resonates in her head. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reports that “81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat,” illustrating the influential power of the media authority over individuals.
Thus, comparable to Hitler and King Louis the XVI of France, our current media has caused mental (which may lead to physical self-) destruction of the female population. Looking back at history, it seems that our only to overrule the oppressor is through a cultural revolution against our own societal norms.
Bordo, Susan. “Reading the Slender Body.” Unbearable Weight. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. 185-212. Print.
Curtis. N.p. Web. 27 Oct 2013. <http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/>.