Posted by: kierstin1220 | April 7, 2009

Insight Into the World of Celebrity

Throughout our lifetime, we are bombarded with countless images that dictate the definition of beauty. Studies have shown that as a result of these images only about 2 percent of women would call themselves beautiful. Every day thousands, if not millions, of young girls, teenagers and older women alike, compare themselves to the digitally-altered images that are strewn across magazines, advertisements and television. The outcome is a significantly lowered self-esteem that prompts the repeated questions “Am I beautiful enough?” “Will anyone ever find me attractive?”

In previous blog posts I have exposed the magic of Photoshop and how you have to be wary of the validity of the images you stumble across on a daily basis. Even models and celebrities aren’t as beautiful as they appear to be -that should be somewhat encouraging- but most of the time it isn’t. We still strive to achieve the impossible perfection that we tell ourselves is only another 5 pounds away.

A new book by Emmy-award winning reporter, Shaun Robinson, reveals that the celebrities suffer from the same body-image anxieties that plague the average-American woman and man on any given day. Robinson’s Exactly as I Am is the answer to the countless letters and e-mails she has received over the years from young girls asking her how to achieve the look and style of their favorite celebrities. In the book, Robinson reveals that celebrities suffer from the same insecurities as the normal person, and they even find themselves comparing their bodies to other celebrities. It’s a vicious cycle.

The cover of Robinson's book

The cover of Robinson's book

An excerpt from the first chapter of Robinson’s book can be found on NBC’s Today show Web site. Here is a brief selection from the excerpt.

Chapter one
You are who you are: Beauty and self-acceptance
Pretty … skinny … perfect.

These were the words I kept hearing over and over again as I spoke with teenage girls across the country. What did they love about themselves? What would they change? What image were they trying to live up to? Whether they lived on the East Coast or the West, in the Midwest or the South, their voices seemed to speak in unison: “I want to be pretty. I want to be skinny. I want perfection like I see on TV and in the magazines.” These girls created a beautiful rainbow of skin tones, hair textures, and figures, from curvaceous to boyish. They were tall like basketball players, small like gymnasts, and in between like the girl next door. I found them all uniquely beautiful, but they all admitted to feeling pressure to somehow look better than they did. And it was also clear that their idea of beauty was all about being pretty and thin and perfect. What an impossible standard to live up to! Robinson Exactly as I Am

A new mentality has been developed -to be beautiful you have to be thin. While writing this sentence I realize how absurd it sounds, but then when I go home and look in the mirror my former self seems to dissipate and I find myself looking at a young girl in the mirror, wondering how I could be beautiful like the images I see on television. Rising above the social norm is more difficult than writing about doing it.

Click here to hear Robinson talk about her book on the Today Show, because the video wouldn’t embed on WordPress.

I find it interesting that Robinson admits that celebrities realize the power the media has over the self-esteem of young girls. She references Jamie Lee Curtis, Celine Dion, Diane von Furstenberg, Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Queen Latifah, Nicole Miller, Julianne Moore, Mandy Moore, Martina Navratilova, Nancy Pelosi, Diane Sawyer, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Gabrielle Union, Meredith Vieira, Vanessa Williams, Oprah Winfrey, to name a few, as those who provided some insight and advice for how to cope with body image problems. Yet, I see one glaring paradox: These same women most likely at some time or another allowed their photographs to be Photoshopped. And the celebrities listed here also conform to the stereotype that to be beautiful you must be thin. Heck, Robinson herself looks like she can be no bigger than a size four.

I think it’s a great thing that people are attempting to bring this issue to the forefront, but as the old cliche goes, actions speak louder than words. It’s time for someone to finally step up and go against what society deems as beautiful and be completely unapologetic for it.

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Responses

  1. Good!


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