home   ∞   index

What western culture does to women, western ones and non-western ones.

Material from a researcher in Padua's whose thesis I found online points at further layers still, of wrongdoing, on the part of western media vis a vis the 'non white' world - Puvia tells us: << The processes through which beauty ideals oppress women are complex and multifaceted; in the literature this process is known as the BIO hypothesis an acronym for 'Beauty Ideals are Oppressive' (Forbes et al., 2007). The BIO hypothesis has important implications because it underlines the social meaning and function of beauty inquiring the social purpose it serves. Among others, one possibility is that western beauty demands, shift social awareness from women's competencies to superficial aspects of their appearance, undermine women's self-confidence, dissipate their time, and their emotional and economic resources. In line with this claim, recently Swami and colleagues (2010) have showed that media exposure predicted women's cosmetic use and men's perceived need for women to use it. >>

Alarmingly, Puvia informs us of this bit of key research: << The project has involved 7, 434 individuals across 26 countries that represent 10 major regions (Southeast Asia, East Asia, South and West Asia, Oceania, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, North America, and South America). Media exposure was operationalized asking to participants to rate their exposure to Western or U.S. media (e.g., television, movies, magazines, and music). In addition, participants outside the United States or Britain rated their exposure to local (national) media. As expected and in line with the APA document and the premise of objectification theory, the exposure to Western media was associated with a preference for a thinner figure, implying that a greater exposure to Western or US media who portray an idealized female beauty image is related to the desire of women all around the world to look thin. Similar results were found in relation to women's body dissatisfaction: the more female participants reported to spend their time viewing Western media, the more they reported to be dissatisfied with their bodies. >>

And on top of that, a video I found via Jonathan Cook's blog, tells us this alarming story: (it opens with a shot of two fashionable women's magazines and then demonstrates the following to you).

<< Last night I found these two on my coffee table and I made a disturbing discovery. This one has 426 pages and weighs 2.5 lbs (1.15 kg). This one has 244 pages and weighs 1lb (0.42 kg). Now I will remove the exact number of pages that are ads and paid content articles. 364 pages out of 426. 85% of that magazine was made of adverts. Now the other one: 158 pages out of 244. 65%. In reality they're not magazines they're product catalogs. [..] Why does it matter? Because for decades advertising for women has been based on the same principle: (pseudo and real quotes from the magazines' pages) "You're not good enough!" "Something is wrong with you" "Actually a lot is wrong with you" "she is prettier" "You suck." "You're not smart enough." 85% of beauty magazines' content is dedicated to making you feel imperfect and inadequate. 70% of women feel guilty, ashamed and depressed after only 3 minutes of reading a fashion magazine. [..] No one can look like Sally Gifford. Not even Sally Gifford. And it gets worse. H&M has recently admitted to using computer generated body pictures in their ads. This means some of those pictures show bodies that don't even exist. That's not all. A third of women who read these are over 40. Guess how many pictures of women over 40 I could find. ZERO. 800 pages of denying human biology and creating a negative body image. [..] Today elementary school girls as young as six start to be concerned with their own weight and shape. 80% of them are unhappy with their bodies as adults. >>

A few additional pertinent notes (my own observations as well as citations of her propositions) from my reading of Elisia Puvia's public docs:


Puvia explains that while "sexual desire involves.. sexual objectification, (it).. becomes problematic when it is compulsive, or habitually extended to every area of experience."

As Puvia concludes, a woman can be perceived by herself and others to be less than a full human being if she is compulsively objectified sexually.

Compulsive sexual objectification of a woman reduces the perception of her to that of less than a full human being and degrades her quality of life.

Many commercially-driven and otherwise misguided outspoken proponents of the cult of personality imagine that a lack of compulsive sex makes the quality of your life lower.

If they let go of the endless stream of instant-gratification-promoting media products and branding incidents most people would not find it hard to seek a better quality of life.

Compulsive behaviour and dehumanisation are both separately very damaging but combined are a very serious flaw in our present human condition.