The Flesh And The Devil By Kim Chernin Today young women are greatly influenced by the pressures to have the ideal body type. In “The Flesh and the Devil” Kim Chernin discusses how American cultural values and the concept of the ideal body type influence women. Chernin’s attitude towards this is negative, she believes the thin body types shown in advertising and media lead women to see themselves as not good enough. She tells how women strive for the ideal body so much that it has a terrible impact on their lives (366-373). This is true in many aspects of young women’s lives today and can be seen in everyday society.
In high school is was easy seeing the huge impact our cultural values have on young women. In the locker room while changing for gym you can hear a lot about how the girls feel about themselves. Chernin talks about an experience in a locker room, “The woman in the locker room who swings out at her image in the mirror, the little girls who are afraid of the coming of adolescence to their bodies, the woman who admires the slenderness of the anorexic girl” (368). In the locker room I would hear conversations where they would say how they thought they were so fat and ugly and how they were so unhappy about their bodies. Some girls didn’t even want to change in front of the others because they were so embarrassed of their bodies.
Also, they would talk about how they wanted so desperately to have a body like a certain actress or model. Another place at school where I saw young women suffering themselves all because of the need to be thin was at lunch. At lunch there were girls who would hardly eat a thing and others that didn’t eat at all. When asked why they weren’t eating they would say it’s because they aren’t hungry and some just told the truth and told us they were trying to lose weight. There were poor girls who starved themselves everyday just because they felt the need to look the “right” way. There were a few that were known to be anorexic and bulimic.
We saw them everyday in school destroying their bodies, and for what reason? Just because of the pressure society put on them to have the ideal body. The effects of the cultural values of the ultimate body type can somewhat be seen just by looking out the window of my own house. Everyday there is an innumerable amount of people walking and running in the streets. It seems as if everyday there are more people passing by. Some of these people might be exercising to stay healthy, but it can be assumed that the majority are doing it to lose weight.
For example, I am sure these two women I see out there every single day running and sweating are doing so because they want to change their body. One place where this emphasis on the thin body type can be seen a great deal is on television. All you see on TV are skinny women who have the ideal body. Models on commercials and other things are a main example of this. Women see these models everywhere and want to look like they do because they feel that is the only way to be accepted in society. If women with all different body types were models and depicted on TV as beautiful as well, then maybe there wouldn’t be such a problem with young women not liking themselves the way they are.
Also on television, are all the exercise equipment and videos being advertised. This shows how being thin is such a factor in peoples lives. Women see these commercials and the people make it seem like having a perfect body is so important in being happy in life and that being overweight is wrong. Plus, convienatly all the people in the commercials promoting the product have the ideal body type. In conclusion, it is clear that the way the ideal female body type is pushed on young women extremely influences their lives. It causes them to dislike their own bodies so much they do just about anything to change themselves.
This ideal body type leads women to hurt themselves trying to obtain it, and it seems the problem in this country is growing with time. This tremendous problem is recognized by so many people, so why are we not doing something to try and stop the pressures put on young women to have perfect bodies? Theater Essays.