Growing up, girls across the nation in this day and age are greatly influenced by the media and its messages, most of which are harmful to girls' self-value, mental and physical health, and confidence. American Apparel is one of the many companies that objectifies women in order to advertise its clothing.
Eating disorders have increasingly become an issue in society. The media portrays actresses and models as suspected of having anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia nervosa, and this often depicts anorexia as a “glamorous game,” and leaves girls aspiring to be like the celebrities they see on television and in magazines. Weight loss advertising, airbrushing, superficial portrayals, and the objectification of women in the media all contribute to low self-worth, depression, and helplessness, according to About-Face, an organization that promotes positive body image and self-worth in San Francisco. In a study conducted in the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, a variety of college students were asked to take a math test; some students were wearing swimsuits and others sweaters. The women in the swimsuits performed significantly worse on the test than those in comfortable clothing. This exemplifies when women are thinking about their bodies and comparing them to the sexualized and thin images in the media, their ability to think coherently is disrupted.
Everyday, the media's sexualized images of teenage girls are constant reminders of what society wants all girls to be like. How will girls be able to be comfortable with who they are, in their own bodies, if the media is continuously telling them they need to be sexy, thin, and just something for others to look at and judge?
Overall, we want American Apparel to stop sexualizing its models in order to sell clothing, for the benefit of girls' self-esteem, confidence, and physical and mental health everywhere.
The media in our society has a powerful impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of teenage girls across the nation. The media’s messages are instilling poor self-value, contributing to the development of eating disorders, and causing the lack of confidence in the women of our country.
The average teen uses a variety of media (the internet, television, social networking, email, music, etc) 7 hours a day, according to ABC News. This means that the average teen is consuming 7 hours worth of the media’s ideal of what the perfect body is and how girls need to act. Healthy body image and self-confidence is incredibly hard to achieve when girls’ bodies and actions are constantly under the scrutiny of our society. In addition, the idealized woman is 13-19% underweight, and that ideal contributes to the increased development of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in teenage girls.
The constant objectification of women (and often teenage girls) in the media all contribute to low self-esteem and the lack of self-respect in girls, and advertisements like the ones American Apparel uses contribute to these results and do not support women in our society today.
I ask you to take action and begin supporting teenage girls everywhere by stopping the objectification of women in American Apparel advertisements.