The issue related to women’s health has been a topic of concentration in the media over the years. Undoubtedly, the media yield immense authority to influence individual opinion on their health issues. Since its foundation, the health and beauty magazine has played a key task in raising health matters affecting women. Some of the health issues include reproductive health, breast and cervical cancer, physical fitness, weight loss, beauty and shape. The following is a critical analysis of women’s health issue as portrayed in the media and the influence it has in shaping people’s opinions. The discussion analyses some aspects considered by the media such as gender and social determinants. The media greatly manipulate people’s opinions about their health.
One of the key women’s health issues largely presented in the media is physical fitness and beauty. The media largely equates physical fitness with having a slim body and a good shape. There are various suggestions propagated by the media on how to become as slim as possible in order to acquire a good shape. These include having regular exercises, adoption of good eating habits that avoids junk food while eating a balanced diet, and avoiding stress. In addition, the media gives a number of suggestions on the type of food that can be eaten for best results. Similarly, there is a suggestion of the various types of body exercises undertaken at specified time (Steven 2).
In the same line, the media closely associates women’s physical fitness with the beauty. In its turn, beauty is strongly related to the colour of the skin. The media has manipulated women to believe that their beauty is connected with the colour of their skin. In addition, various products are offered by the media to make the skin lighter (Steven 3). This is accompanied by a number of personal stories of women who achieved expected results after adhering to the suggestions offered, as well as after using the various products advertised by the media.
A closer analysis on how the media portrays women’s health issues specifically on Physical fitness and beauty largely propagates the media’s consumerism ideals. In most cases, many women are excessively disturbed about their wellbeing and appearance. Therefore, they easily agree with the ideals of the media. This pushes them to try all the ways suggested by the media in order to keep themselves physically fit and in good shape (4). In addition, they also purchase the various products to make their skin as light as possible in order to become socially acceptable.
The media retains specific consideration to class, gender and even social locations. Undoubtedly, the advertisements related to physical fitness and beauty targets a specific class of people and gender. For instance, In order to become socially acceptable in a certain class, women are required to live up to the beauty standards set up by the media. Considerably, a woman’s self esteem and self perception depends on her ability to live up to the standards offered by the media. The inability to employ the set parameters often gives women a feeling of being physically unfit and therefore they become inferior. Moreover, the media links beauty and physical fitness with morality. The media paints a picture of beautiful women being also gentle, kind, generous and happy. On the other hand, women who are not beautiful and physically unfit are associated with sadness and self centredness. This illustrates that a person is not valued for what he or she is, but for the beauty one posses (Steven 4).
Notably, the media gives a vital consideration to various social determinants of health such as sex, gender, life stages, access to resources and diversity. Undoubtedly, there are various commodities designed to fit specific people according to their gender, sex, life stages and even access to resources. Markedly, health needs of women are varied from one life stage to the next. The media is keen on making women consider that different products only work at specific age. Similarly, access to resources such as stable employment and education, determines people class and social needs. The media thus adopts strategies in order to reach to various social classes and the different social locations.
Markedly, most of the media articles are largely one sided. For instance, in relation to women physical fitness and beauty, most of the media articles paint a picture that communicates to the readers that physical fitness refers to being very slim and having a light skin. Considerably, this is not always the reality. Obviously, there are many people who do not have a light skin but they are physically fit. Therefore, rewriting this article, I would not limit physical fitness to the colour of the skin. In addition, I would also emphasize that personal health and identity is not only based on physical fitness and skin colour. On the contrary, other aspects such as personal talents and aptitudes also add to the physical fitness. Moreover, some information from the media constructs a negative perception about women who do not employ the suggested products. Such perceptions are reinforced every day until they become socially acceptable as true. Therefore, caution should be taken to ensure that information from the media articles is accurate and also timely. For example, having a lighter skin does not necessarily make one happy. Happiness comes through a combination of factors; it is not only limited to physical fitness and the colour of the skin. In the same line, many women depend on women’s magazine to guide them through health issues. Therefore, all readers must sort out the information in the media and pick what applies to their specific situations. The reader should know that the perception created by the media shape peoples identities, dreams and ambitions. The reader should develop an ability to analyze the information received from the media before taking it as truth (6).
In conclusion, women’s health in relation to how it is portrayed in the media is an issue of concern that calls for the attention of all stakeholders. Obviously, women values issues allied to beauty, good shape and physical fitness. Following the consumeristic ideals, the media paints a picture that relates physical fitness to beauty and offers the products for people to achieve beauty and physical fitness. However, the media does not give consideration to other aspects related to physical fitness and beauty. The readers of various media communication should take time to analyze the information depicted in the media. The stake holders in the medical field should take the frontline in shedding more light on various issues related to women’s health.
Thomsen, Steven R. “Health and beauty magazine reading and body shape concerns among a group of college women.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 79.4: 988-1007. 2014. Print.