As consumers, we’re bombarded with media that dictates our perception of society and normalcy. And within this mass of messages, we find many paradoxes in regard to our appearance and weight. Companies selling weight loss products, like Alli, play up slender body norms (Even the box has a slender shape!), yet food distributors like McDonald’s offer consumers XL sodas (Remember supersizes?). Susan Bordo observes in Unbearable Weight, “’Correct’ management of desire in [this] culture, requiring as it does a contradictory double-bind construction of personality, inevitably produces an unstable bulimic personality-type as its norm” (Bordo 187). Apart from weight, women are also shown a double standard; ads are digitally altered. The women represented in ads aren’t even real, yet the media normalizes them, so we are given the message we need to be like them. The media spreads a false and impossible standard of “normalcy.” The best response to this could be education and awareness. Dove has taken steps toward awareness with their Real Beauty campaign; here’s one of their commercials:
I think awareness of the truth and motives behind media is important. We need to remember that we live in a capitalist society, and that companies disregard our well-being at the chance to make money.
Bordo, Susan. Unbearable Weight. Berkeley: University of CA Press, 1993.