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What is the Perfect Body?

An excellent example of paper 2 by Aliesha Powers

What is the perfect body? Who gets to decide such a thing? Most importantly, why does a person care so much about their image? These are all legitimate questions I would love to ask to our so called "mother culture". You can see these body image "standards" all across our country everyday. They are strewn across our televisions and magazines daily. " The perfect body" consisting of a 6'2 girl that has tan skin and weighs 110 pounds. Women in our culture strain and strive in unhealthy ways to achieve such a body.

I am a product of this habitual analyzing of the body. I have and sometimes do compare myself with such women in the media, wishing I had her stomach or her thighs. Just in the past few years have I come to terms with my body and although I do wish for improvements, I know I am essentially ok with the way I look. This was much harder for me at a younger age, especially through my teen years.

Throughout my college career I have learned to think critically and logically. On one side of my thinking I realize that logically I should be happy with my body, that I am healthy and I shouldn't let these women in the media, whom I have never even met or will meet in my life, effect my self esteem or my self worth all from a glance at a picture. But then on the other side of my thinking, I realize, that I have been so exposed and saturated with the media's opinion on the perfect body that I will always be wishing. I will always be unsatisfied, although happy with my life and health at the moment.

Some blame on the media must be pointed out. I do believe that these corporate companies have in a sense taken advantage of our vulnerabilities as humans. They have created an untouchable image for the 95 percent of us that can't be super models. They focus on our so-called "flaws" which they have created and market them. So we all run out and buy the newest cloths and the newest products so we can have a taste of what it would be like to have such a body or appearance.

Yet, to dig a little deeper, it is our society that is perpetuating this cycle. The media did not come out of thin air. We have created this. It is like the Frankenstein movies, "we have created a monster!"

It's true. But I honestly believe that in the beginning we had our hearts in the right place. We wanted to create sustainability in the beginning. But people are selfish and it's easy to make a decision in the present time if it benefits you, without really, truly thinking about what kind of impact that same decision will have in the future.
I feel like we have dug ourselves a hole that we can't come back from.
And that is the reality of it. The body image the media has created is engraved in our culture.

One of the more shocking parts of this cycle is that it begins as soon as we are born. We are constantly exposed to stereotypes and visions of what we think we are supposed to look like. We never had a real chance to be an individual. Children today want whatever they see on television or whatever they read in magazines. And as they age, especially for young women, they feel the pressure to look a certain way and dress a certain way. So much emphasis is put on material things. These things are supposed to make a person feel pretty or special?

This is where I come back to being logical. This thinking is illogical. It doesn't make sense. Why do we let these multimillion-dollar companies control our self-worth with stuff? Its just stuff, it won't keep you warm on a cold night, it won't feed you or your family, and it won't give you a roof over your head. But still we are trapped in the game. Our bodies and appearance will continually be analyzed for generations to come. And the saddest part is that we made it this way.

There is also a fine line between a healthy body and a malnourished body in the name of achieving "the perfect body". Some children and adults today are starving themselves to get skinny. Some are vomiting up their food to try and get skinny. It is terrible and all in the name of "the perfect body". I don't believe there is any other place in the world that has such an epidemic on such a large scale. This means that our own culture's media has affected some people so deep that they actually put their health in danger to live up to our very own standards.

And it doesn't stop there. Plastic surgery is a fast growing market.
I'm sure everyone in our classroom today knows someone who has had a little "work done". Have we gotten to such a point that we feel the need to put our life at risk to go under the knife? There are serious risks in undergoing surgery. A person really could die from a 15-minute procedure. But we still take the risk, all in the name of "the perfect body".

It seems like nothing is organic anymore. People in our society will do anything to escape ageing or to enhance some feature on their body. Even starving yourself has become a norm. Although I have these feelings about our culture and I think them all the time and write them in this paper, I still know that I am a product.

I dye my hair, I wear the makeup, and I do wish I had a flatter stomach. These rituals I do everyday and the wishes that I have about my body will continue for the rest of my life. I live this culture everyday just like everyone else and I do want to fit in. Whether I like it of not, this is the way to do so. No one wants to be an outsider and I think that's what fuels a lot of us to do such crazy things.

All I can do is try to see the line between what will really make me happy and what is a product of my happiness. I will try to use my logic to rule out the things I know I don't need to do in the name of "the perfect body". People are flawed, in the eyes of our culture; everyone thinks they have some flaw. This will remain constant. But I just hope that I and anyone else who realizes they are in this cycle will be able to come to terms with their body and happiness. No one should strive for perfection because in that mind set they will always be let down. I think it will just have to take endurance to withstand the standards we have set for ourselves and strength in knowledge to know that we can be happy without any alterations.