It’s That Time of Year Again…
Awards season is upon us again, and as we celebrate the previous year in film, music and television, the red carpet attire invades the front page. As I attempt to read the newspaper online or look on my newsfeed, I am bombarded with images asking me to vote for which actress looks better. As a woman, I have grown accustomed to receiving messages regarding my body, clothes and overall appearance. However, it never ceases to amaze me how much these messages increase during this time of year. News outlets that discuss the War on Terror and the situation in Syria quickly rescind these stories to focus on which actress wore whose designs the previous evening. Throughout the multitude of comments I have seen regarding the gown the actress wore, I find myself overwhelmed with information regarding the actresses’ appearance in the dress. Journalists question these women regarding the amount of time spent getting ready, the diet trends being utilized and if the actress is wearing spanx or other shaping material under their clothes. Perhaps, even more appalling, is the comparison of “who wore it better.” Through this, journalists question which actresses look better is a specific color or dress style. Although female attire can typically be far more varied and adorned then males, men are almost never compared based upon their appearance. In fact, men who are asked similar questions to their female counterparts are often appalled and taken aback by the questions they are receiving. A recent interview conducted with Kevin Spacey found the actor speechless as he was asked questions such as “what time did you get up this morning to get ready?”
Feminist researchers and theorists have been discussing the importance of societal pressure on the female body since its inception. Recently, women have begun to stand up against these perceptions of the body. Famous female voices have begun to speak toward having healthier views of the body. Through this, women across the world are beginning to hear new views and perceptions of what women should be. Despite all of this, our media is still displaying women as objects rather than people. As women, we become models for clothing lines, a hanger in which to display artifacts being sold. Today, a size ten, the average size of women in the United States, is considered plus sized for models. Through these media messages, our view of women is altered. By acknowledging this information, we can hopefully begin to alter the media’s portrayal of women toward the positive.
Written by Emily L. Barnum, M.A.