Monday, 12 January 2015

Real Beauty: Society's Expectations of a Womans Body Image.

The human mind is like a computer; each a little bit different but built to do similar things. A computer holds specific files, data and memory depending on the computer, just as a human mind has memories and thoughts different from another mind. Each mind is unique and different which makes a personal an individual. Society is like a computer hacker; they pick through all the contents of the computer until they have exactly what they want. For most computers, the way to begin accessing the contents is to use three keys on a keyboard; control, alternate and delete. Overtime, an individuals self worth has been warped and mutated to fit both a physical and mental image of what we call today's society, specifically a woman’s body image. This is done through control, alternate and delete.

Figure One

"Marilyn Monroe Body." Quote Every Day. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2015.

The first thing a computer hacker has to do to gain access to the computer is press the control key on the keyboard. In order for society to gain control of the human mind, society uses social media to portray what a woman should look like. Over the past seventy years the perfect woman has changed to fit society's standards and expectations. In the nineteen forties and fifties, Marilyn Monroe, a model and an actress, was idolised for her beauty and she was considered the “perfect woman”. She was considered perfect because she was not a stick. She had curves and was confident about them, which is evident through the way she stands with her head held high and a big smile to match. She was happy with who she was and she did not let society control who she was, she controlled herself. She is a timeless role model because of this.

Figure Two

"'Skinny Model' Debate Hits Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Again." N.p.,
    n.d. Web. 9 Jan. 2015. <

If we fast forward seventy years, we see models that look like this. Society over the past seventy years has warped and mutated what they believe real beauty is. They have created this idea that women need to be stick thin to be beautiful. This model has extremely thin legs and arms, and a very tiny waist. Does she look happy to you? I would say that she is not happy because her facial expression does not show happy or confident, her facial expression shows a blank look. She fits into the fashion world,a place where one has little control over their body, and this is the kind of woman that is portrayed in advertising that is around us everyday. We see women that look like this on television, in advertisements, clothing store mannequins and even kids toys like Barbies. Once a woman feels that she is not beautiful without having a thin body, society has the been able to have the control that they want.

Once the computer hacker has pressed the control key on a keyboard, the hacker then proceeds to press the alternate key. After society gains control over the mind, it is easier to alter an individual's thoughts and feelings. As humans, we feel the need to be accepted by others at one point in our lives and we choose to change in order to feel that acceptance. Once this happens, there can be two major repercussions. The first major repercussion is changing body image by vigorously exercising and a crazy amount of dieting with a lot of determination, which is a healthier option.

Figure Three

"'I'm Proof That Age Is Nothing but a Number.'" Mail Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 9
Jan. 2015. < I’m-proof-age-number-76-year-old-bodybuilder-says-exercise-rescued-depths-depression.html>.

In the image, it is clearly stated on the woman's sports bra that she is determined, dedicated and disciplined. This woman is determined to change her body image by working hard, which is evident through her clenched teeth and closed eyes as she lifts weights. Working hard to get what you want is not bad, it is a healthy way to feel confident in yourself. Is it okay to want to feel good about how you look? Of course it is, but changing who you are to have the approval of someone else is not okay. However, the second major repercussion of society altering the mind is not a healthy option. Throughout the past while, anorexia has become more common due to the fact that women feel the need to have a perfect body. Instead of exercising and maintaining a healthy diet, they do not eat.

Figure Four


"Lost in My Fingertips...Anorexia." Bizlocallistings. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan.
    2015. <

The girl in the image has let society control and alter her thoughts to the point that she does not even see what she really looks like. She looks uncomfortable and ashamed by the way that she holds her hands together close to her chest. This is further demonstrated by the look of concern and disappointment that linger in her eyes. We can see that she is extremely thin, but she sees herself as a girl that society does not approve of. On the other hand is it wrong for a female to have a body shape like the girl in the mirror? No, bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and we are all meant to look different. This proves that once society has control over the mind, it can alter a person from the inside out.
Finally, when the computer hacker has pressed the control and alternate keys, the last key is delete. When society has controlled an individual's thoughts and altered them from the inside out, the person that was once there is completely gone. The real question is; how can this be prevented?

Figure Five
"Dove's Real Beauty Campaign's Success." Blogs.ubc. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan.
2015. <>.

In 2004, Dove launched their Real Beauty Campaign with the slogan, “Imagine a World Where Beauty is a Source of Confidence, Not Anxiety”. Imagine a world without pressure to look a certain way. This image from the campaign literally shows real beauty; women of all different shapes and sizes. The women in this image are all posing and smiling as they show off the different body types that they all have. How did they become so happy with who they are? They took CONTROL of their thoughts, they decided to be confident in who they are and not let anyone ALTER them, and they did not DELETE who they truly are, but rather accept themselves. That is real beauty!

In conclusion, our minds are similar to computers; every one a little bit different from another but built to do the same thing. Most computers only allow access to contents by pressing control, alternate and delete on the keyboard. Society is like a computer hacker trying to discover all the contents of the computer until they get what they want. Today, society tries to convince women what their body should look like by slowly controlling and altering the mind until an individual lives up to society's expectations and completely abandons the person they once were. I want to leave you with one thought: WE are society, so how can WE change it?


  1. I loved this! I liked the use of the ctl-alt-delete hacker thing. Although, I think we can change society by not focusing on a woman's body, and focus on her personality. It's awesome to look up to girls like Marilyn Monroe, but I think it's also important to look up to women who have broken the rules, and crashed through barriers for their personalities as well.

  2. Bailey, you have put forth an excellent thesis with a unique method to prove it.

    I wonder, though, about the Dove campaign. While I am sure there have been some improvement in women's body images, I feel "icky" about Dove, as its parent company is the same as Axe Body Spray. Axe's campaign tactics are damaging to both men and women, as women are expected to behave and look a certain way, and men are also expected to behave a certain way.

    It comes down to marketing: women buyers: let's celebrate our natural selves; Axe: sex, sex, and more sex.

    Also, if you look more closely at the Dove print ad, there are no obese women represented, no Asians, no South Asian, nobody with a physical disability, etc! What does this tell us?

  3. I thought you're control, alternate, and delete idea was very clever! I also agree with wanting to feel confident about yourself, like in your third image, with exercise and eating well. But I also think it needs to be said that you have to pace yourself when exercising, instead of jumping right into an intense routine, or else it could lead to serious injuries to the body.

    1. I agree with your point, but in reality most people do not understand that they need to pace themselves because they become so obsessed with wanting the perfect body. I think that once society gains control over the way that an individual thinks of themself, then the individual is willing to go to extremes to look the way that society expects them to.

  4. I loved the metaphor you used throughout your essay! It is very unique. I like how you used Marilyn Monroe. You gave a real life example of a women who was able to express herself using her own, unique body, not modelled by society.

  5. Bailey! I loved your thesis and the way you made the relation between a computer and society, it really made me think in a way I've never thought about it before. I also like the way you showed the image of Marilyn Monroe and how she was curvy but had the 'perfect body' at the time because she was confident, versus the third image, of a girl who sees herself as something she is not. It's crazy to think how time changes so much.. who would of thought that one day society would view it as okay to starve yourself to get the so called 'perfect' body image that we have today?

  6. This post is amazing. I love how you used the computer as a representative of society and how it takes control on things alternates it and deletes things. I also agree with all of your image ideas and how you got their points across, woman should be more comfortable in their own bodies and be proud to look the way they are and not feel pressured to look a certain way and dress a certain way to appease other people in today's society. People should not feel obligated to look a certain way everyone is different: their own person. To many people get sucked into that whole world of the perfect image and how to be perfect when really everyone is perfect in their own way.

  7. Really great and powerful message Bailey!! honestly I find it hard to put in words how I feel about this ISU. It's well put together and you dissected your overall point and laid it out perfectly. Truly inspiring honestly!!