Sexualization Defined: A Narrow Standard

Whether you're flipping channels, driving down the highway, or waiting in line at the grocery store, it's hard to escape the stunning faces of celebrities smiling back at you. And it's hard to ignore the fact that they are stunning...how many times has a less-than-perfect face smiled back at you from the cover of Glamour or Vogue or People? Sometimes it can feel like we're being bombarded by reminders of what we don't look like.
Because, after all, how many of us look like Kim Kardashian?Or Megan Fox?

Or Tom Cruise?

If, by chance, you do...well lucky you! For the rest of us mere mortals, however, it can be pretty disheartening to watch a commercial or TV show and realize that we're never going to look like the people parading across the screen. Unfortunately, the media conveys a very narrow standard of beauty; they can make it easy to believe that to be physically attractive, a person must be sexy. And it's not just adults who are taught this; even children, especially as they begin hitting pre-adolescent and teenage years, are made to believe this as well. I mean, just look at the stars they idolize:
Stars are glamorous and sexy, and that's not going to change. Sexiness sells. What can change, however, is the way we view these images. We can either look at them and think, "Wow, that must be how I'm supposed to look. What can I change about myself to look like them?" or we can view them and think, "Wow, they sure are beautiful, but that's why they're famous. Most people don't look like that, nor do they need to. It's unrealistic for me to think that if I lose weight or get plastic surgery I will look like them."

So What's the Big Deal?

Ever hear of anorexia or bulimia? If people buy into the beliefs that to be attractive or liked, they must be sexy, they begin to feel that they must change themselves so that they, too, are sexy. In fact, 92% of girls think they need to change something about themselves to be beautiful. And unfortunately, they begin to think that being beautiful means being sexy. Sexiness generally requires being thin, so many girls take drastic measures to achieve what the media says is the ideal body weight.
Even if someone doesn't become anorexia, they may seek other potentially dangerous methods of changing themselves, like plastic surgery. And why? Because they have developed a bad self-image thanks to our friends in the advertising business.

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