Sunday, October 21, 2007

Who I Am Is Not What They Say - "Ideal" vs "Self"

Depictions of an ideal self paired up with competitive consumption is a vicious tag team of hegemonic beliefs that permeate the society in which we live.

People are all different sizes, shapes, colors and have different interests, perceptions, senses and tastes; yet advertisements and magazines still generalize and impose an ideal image of a male or female across the world. Regarding young girls, Higgenbotham states that "the creators of teens magazines claim to reflect the reality of girls' lives...that filling these girls' minds with fluff is patronizing, cowardly and just plain lazy" (96). Gender stereotypes are promoted through these magazines because they assign roles, features, mannerisms, etc., that define the ideal self of a male or female. Without these stereotypes, an ideal self would not be complete.

Analogous to the ideal image imposed by media is consumption. "Competitive Consumption" is, as defined by Schor, "the idea that spending is in large part driven by a comparative or competitive process in which individuals try to keep up with the norms of the social group" (185). Ads create these reference groups that Schor describes which drive the individuals to consume all for the sake of fitting in to that ideal image that was manifested.

This collage represents my own self image based on how I live my life, against the perception spread by advertisements of the ideal male.

Work Cited
Higginbotham, Anastasia. "Teen Mags: How to Get a Guy, Drop 20 Pounds, and Lose Your Self-Esteem". 1996. 93-96.
Schor, Juliet. "The New Politics of Consumtion: Why Americans Want So Much More Than They Need." Dines, Gail and Jean M. Humez, eds. Gender, Race, and Class in Media. United States: Sage Publications, 2003. 183-195.
Images From:

Advertisers' Perception of Self

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