Diet Pills and Teenage Girls

Adolescent girls (as well as older women) are the group most vulnerable to the advertising claims of diet pills and other OTC products claiming to reduce weight. Our culture tells girls that being "pretty" is often more important than being smart or healthy or kind. In desperate attempts to conform to the cultural definition of prettiness, girls may turn to OTC products. This emphasis on physical appearance is one of the major distortions of our society. It fails to recognize that other qualities are far more essential to both an individual's personhood and the entire culture's well-being. What's more, cultural definitions of beauty are variable, depending on many factors.

Historically, beauty standards have often been set by the upper classes in a society. In many cultures, physical attributes that are associated with wealth also become associated with beauty. For example, in societies that are experiencing famine or lack of food, a plump body (a sign of wealth and strength in an otherwise bleak picture of wasting and emaciation) is often seen as beautiful. In a society that has plenty of food (like North America), thinness becomes associated with wealth because wealthy people have the time and the money to dedicate to things like fitness and special diets. In such a well-fed society, being thin or skinny becomes beautiful. In situations like these, people do not necessarily consciously associate the physical attributes of wealth with beauty, but wealth is desirable, and therefore the physical attributes of wealthy people become desirable. Similarly, in societies where large families consisting of many children are desirable, physical attributes that are associated with fertility, like wide hips and large breasts in women, are also associated with beauty. In societies where few children are desired, these physical signs of fertility may not be considered beautiful. These trends are of course not universal, but there are many examples throughout history of beauty being associated with wealth and good health.

A good way to see how images of beauty have changed throughout time is to look at art. Artwork often portrays idealized images of the period in which the art was created. When you look at paintings depicting Greek gods

Continue reading here: The average supermodel is five feet eleven inches tall weighs 117 pounds wears a size four and is thinner than 98 percent of American women The average American woman is five feet four inches tall and weighs 142 pounds

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