About BMC 277: Media and Diversity

This course asks students to critically examine the role of the media in facilitating and challenging the social constructions of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation in U.S. culture.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Physical Beauty: An Analysis of Esthetica Sliming Centre

Kit Yi Ng

For many years, it has been common knowledge that women, as presented in the media, seem in a continual quest to “improve” their appearances. While this social construction of femininity has not changed, now, women supposedly change their physical appearances for their own happiness, rather than for the pleasure of others. This is particularly true of diet aids and programs. In this essay, I will focus on the website of Esthetika Sliming Centre, which, I argue, uses a post feminist argument to sell its product.

Esthetika Sliming Beauty Centre sells products and services to help females to be more physically appealing. Their services, they claim, are all-rounded, and include body shaping, clearing acne, improving skin tone, etc. The service “helps women gain their ideal figure while boosting their health and self-confidence…with proven results.” In short, they attempt to convince female customer to undergo personal transformations so as to achieve improvements.
In the website of Esthetika Sliming Beauty Centre, only slim figures of females are portrayed. They dress like professional business women and look very confident. Under the category of “What You See Is What you Get,” successful cases of customers are shown. Most of them focus in how many pounds they lost. In the photos of before transformations, they all looked plump and were in out-dated style. After transformations, they are slim and much more confident. For example, a woman who is identified as Carina Yap, is quoted as saying, “after doing treatments in Esthetika Sliming Beauty Centre, I feel as if a whole new world had opened up for me. I love the way I look, and when I walk down the street, people take a second look. That really makes me feel confident.”

This reliance in the body for happiness is problematic in several ways. First, it still relies upon the judgment of others. So, ultimately, the power is still with others to judge woman as attractive. Second, the ideal can never be attained, and if so, it is temporary. As a result, women are forces to constantly “work” at attaining the beauty ideal. She will never be ideal enough. This serves the market well, however, as there is always some products that can “improve” or maintain appearance.

To conclude, there is a deeply-rooted ideology in society that females need to pursuit physical beauty in order to be “successful” and respected. Furthermore, the standard of beauty is set at a high level that is difficult to achieve. Females suffer under this ideology as they need to bear pressure as they are constantly judged by the others and thus attempt to attain the ideal which can never be reached.

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