How did the mass media exploit women's bodies in the late twentieth century, as described in chapter 11 of Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media by Susan J. Douglas?
This chapter of Where the Girls Are shows how, in the late twentieth century, the American mass media used images of women’s bodies to promote consumption of their products. The goal was to get women to believe that if they bought a certain product, they would look more like the women in the ads who were being admired by men. This is exploitation because the companies were profiting from a socially constructed myth that equated women’s worth with their physical appearance.
One of the main ideas of this chapter is how American advertisers in the late twentieth century fueled widespread cultural self-doubt in order to promote constant consumption. Douglas writes that one of the most “oppressive” symbols of this trend was “the perfectly sculpted, dimple-free upper thigh and buttock” (Douglas 247). She explains that this unrealistic image of women in advertising was meant to make American women feel like “worthless losers when they looked in the mirror” (247). By infusing images of unattainable female bodies into marketing for all sorts of products, the mass media...
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