An interesting concept is objectification which is “treating people as if they were objects… nothing more than the attributes they display (Quist-Adade, SOCI 2275 Notes).” We see many examples of this in our mass media. Women are portrayed as body parts to sexualize and help sell products. Many examples of this can be seen on billboards, in movies, television shows, the internet, and especially in music videos. Objectification of women is created through a male’s perspective of women in a way that reflects male’s fantasies rather then reality. Women’s bodies are shown as body parts rather then as a whole human being; unique for her inner beauty as well as her appearance. Objectification is harmful to both males and females. Through the media, boys are socialized and it becomes normal for them to internalize these objective attitudes towards woman. It is important for boys to be taught that this is not a respectful way in which to display or view women. These images are also harmful to girls because it changes how they view themselves. Girls from a young age need to be taught to value themselves for who they are inside, so they will grow up to be confident and love themselves rather then compare themselves with what they see in the media.
http://www.voice-online.co.uk/sites/default/files/imagecache/455/VO-1458-p20-NEW-Beyonce.jpg retrieved on February 6, 2012.
We can find examples in the media that present to us ideas about reality and what it means to be normal. We see countless images about what beauty is and how women should present themselves in order to be “sexy” and what her role as a woman should be in society.
The media constructs reality and chooses what they want to present to society. One of the most prominent reasons to me, as to why they show select images, is to present the “values of mainstream society” (Quest-Adade) and have people become so used to the images that it becomes normalized and seems to be the normal way of looking at things.
This image shows Beyonce with her natural skin colour compared to her with a lighter skin and hair colour. This is an example of how media constructs reality. The image is presenting the idea that to have lighter skin is more desirable.
The question is, did she choose to present herself in this way? Or did the photo editors decide it was important to help sell a product.
This example goes to show how prominent examples within the media are social constructs. There are many examples where women’s faces and body shape are changed to show the ideal image of beauty. But who says what is beautiful? Media is not presenting that the individual is beautiful; rather media has constructed an ideal image to follow. Even the beautiful, extremely talented, Beyonce does not fit the ideal image and has her skin lightened in this ad.
Will anyone ever be “perfect” in this constructed world we live?