Weightloss for Women Representations


One major problem with advertising today is that magazines, as well as other forms of advertisement, encourage women to lose weight. In fact “women’s magazines have 10.5 times more ads and articles promoting weight loss than men’s magazines do” (55 interesting facts). Both men and women suffer the effects of being overweight so there is no reason to have such an astounding difference in advertisements promoting weight loss. This difference is due to representations of women and how they are “supposed to be” in a male controlled American environment.

There are many health benefits to being in shape, just as there are many health problems that come with being too overweight. The problem is that  there is not even close to an equal representation of men and women. There also is more focus on being attractive then there is on the health benefits. Magazines should should show more realistic images of women on these ads. They are airbrushed, computer edited, hand picked out of several models, and they thrown onto a magazine cover as if that is what the every day American women looks like.

These representations of women in advertisements have become so ingrained into American society that they are naturalized. We see these ads every day and most of us do not even take note of them. Subconsciously however, women and men are shown how women are “supposed to look like”. This can make women who do not look like these models feel like they are not good enough. Men do not get this misrepresentation of them in ads as often, so they do not get the feeling that many women get. This just further supports a hierarchical society where men are on top of women and the women must please the men and fulfill their wishes. Men are not held to the same standard in these ads and that can be very problematic.

There are so many advertisements that tell women that they should lose weight. It almost says that many women are not where they should be. This is far from true, people should not be judged on their size, but they are anyways. Celebrities in magazines are ridiculed for gaining a few pounds, when in reality they usually look more like the American norm.  The dominant ideology  in America is to be the best that you can be and to reach your goals. Having said this, it almost makes the an unreachable goal for many women, so they are represented as inferior to men. As I said early, women represented like this has become naturalized into our society. The best that we can do is to not partake in activities that support these representations and to be aware and question when we do see them.

Work Cited

“55 Interesting Facts About Advertising.” Randomhistory.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2013.


One thought on “Weightloss for Women Representations

  1. I appreciate your deconstruction of the “weight loss” stories that are pitched to female audiences–the statistics about the percent of women who feel they need to lose weight and/or worry about their looks is astounding. Good connection to the concept of how a representation becomes naturalized.

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