Modern culture and the images it projects are extremely narrow in displaying what is acceptable. Despite a multicultural society, television shows and movies predominantly cater to a white male audience. In some action thrillers and other blockbusters, there are hardly even any women in the movies either. Art and culture is meant to be a mirror that reflects our society back, so according to the current crop of television shows and movies, society consists of rich, white folk. Everyone on television is thin and has an often unattainable level of glamour and beauty. This makes it difficult for people to feel good about themselves no matter what their shape or income range.
Larger women, or those with bigger breasts or a plump behind, were once considered the ultimate model of the female body. From ancient Mesopotamia – the first known civilization – images of the goddess Inanna portrayed her as a well-rounded, fertile mother. Statues in her honor were shaped like the figure eight and the woman’s body was revered and honored. This image of womanhood has been held in high esteem across a range of cultures and civilizations. Centuries later, Paul Reubens was so taken by this sexy, full-bodied image of a woman that he made it the focus of his painting career. This has led today to the compliment that a woman is “Reubenesque” if they have an hourglass figure.
Contemporary culture is often tied up in advertising and pushing product. A goal of advertising is to make you feel that you are lacking in some way and need to purchase something in order to feel better or fix yourself. As a result, advertising images are filled with an unrealistic image of who you should be. As the lines between television content and advertising blur with product placement and cross-promotions (what some industry boffins would call “synergy”), this false image of the perfect woman is carried over into popular culture and mirrored in our entertainment as well as in the advertising breaks.
There is some resistance to these images being forced upon consumers, and one of the most effective ways to fight back is to remain confident. Many women are exploring their own bodies and finding that they are more comfortable with a traditional woman’s shape rather than the twelve-year-old adolescent boy image they are meant to replicate. Women with confidence exude sex appeal, and men are responding positively to the independent and proud shapely woman.