Life in Plastic is Not Fantastic: How the Media & Advertising Landscape Influenced Our Body Image

Picture-perfect? Think again! 

In a world where Photoshop and filters reign, and airbrushing is a given, it's high time we expose the smoke and mirrors of the media and advertising industry. Ready to challenge the status quo and redefine what it means to be truly fabulous? Keep reading…

We're diving deep into a topic that has been nagging at our self-esteem FOR YEARS: how our body image has been damaged by media and advertising throughout the years.

The Image Evolution: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Remember the 80s, with the 'fit' body epitomized by Jane Fonda workouts? Yup, not an actual depiction of what a real woman’s body looks like, right?

Then came the 90s, which, honestly, didn’t help either, and in fact, may have even been worse when the media then introduced the waif-like, stick-thin “IT girl” look, embodied by models like Kate Moss. 

Then the new millennium came, but unfortunately, it didn't change the narrative for our society. And what we thought the future would look like would only get even worse… The early 2000s weren't much kinder to us women, with the size-zero trend still dominating the scene.

Jump forward to today, where social media influencers (you know who they are) are imposing –yet another– unrealistic body type. Now everyone's social media is plagued with hot girls in bikinis showing off their unrealistically "bikini bodies" fake, staged, and photoshopped photos flaunting a big booty, a ridiculously hip-to-waist ratio showcasing tiny waists, no woman actually has unless they remove a rib or two, all combined with boobs so big and perky no one’s buying into how “natural” they are. 

Common… if you think this is just genetics and hard work, think again…

We'll give you a hint: 

But let's get real. We're not one-size-fits-all. Bodies come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Our bodies carry the signs of childbirth, years of hard work, stress, and in many cases, chronic diseases, and the marks of age – all signs of a life well-lived. So why have our screens been filled with unreal expectations?

The 'Perfect' Body Illusion

Day after day, we're bombarded with images of seemingly 'perfect' bodies. But let's clear the air: these bodies are often a product of surgery and photo editing. It's an unrealistic standard that, for many of us, leaves more than just a bitter taste; for many, it means lower self-esteem, eating disorders, and low confidence. It costs us our mental health, our health, and our happiness…   .

Don't let these faked images and videos make you feel bad about your body. Your body is real, it's lived, and it's beautiful – just as it is.

Flipping the script

It's not all doom and gloom, though. More brands are starting to reflect real women in their campaigns. For example, Dove started this trend with their "Real Beauty" campaign in the early 2000s. 

More recently, brands like Shapermint, Nooworks, or Truekind have been celebrating real women, in all their glory, showcasing real women with real bodies, including those perfectly normal “imperfections” the media wants to hide from you, such as cellulite, stretch marks, and everything that we all have. 

Isn't it refreshing to see bodies that look like ours?

What We Need More Of

We may have won a few battles, but the war is not over yet. We still have a long way to go. So, here's what we need to see more of:

  • Postpartum bodies
  • Bodies with cellulite
  • Bodies with stretch marks
  • Strong Bodies
  • Bodies that bear the marks of lived experiences
  • Real bodies – of ALL sizes

Our Role in Changing the Narrative

Now, it's our turn. Let's use our voices. Let's leverage our buying power. Start supporting brands that celebrate body diversity. And demand more from those that don't. Share images on your social media that reflect real bodies and real beauty. And most importantly, show yourself as you are –unapologetically you– and give yourself some love. You deserve it. 

The bottom line 

Your body is the vessel that carries you through this crazy, beautiful journey we call life. It's a testament to your unique experiences, your triumphs, and your challenges. And it's beautiful, just as it is.

So, let's shake up the narrative together, for ourselves and for the next generation. Let's celebrate our bodies, in all their diversity and beauty. Because every BODY has a story to tell, and every story deserves to be heard.

This blog is in partnership with The BodCon. Check them out HERE!