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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Many North American girls and women find themselves in a constant (and often unhealthy) battle to be thin.

Woman Five Feet Five Inches 140 Lbs

The "ideal" feminine shape is largely a myth that few real women can achieve.

and goddesses, for example, you may be surprised to see how round and plump the women are. Renaissance women were also portrayed with round bellies and wide hips. In the 1920s' Art Deco period, slim, boyish women are often portrayed.

In today's world, the media—television, radio, movies, the Internet, newspapers, and magazines—are like the circulatory system that carries cultural "blood" to all parts of our society. A good deal of the messages that are pumped through the popular media have to do with selling products that promise to make young women more beautiful. But in order to sell you a beauty product, a company must be sure that the buyers' ideal or conception of beauty is the same image that the product promises to bestow. For example, if in a certain place people dislike plump abdomens, then it makes sense for a company to advertise products that promise to reduce the size of a person's abdomen. However, if everyone in a certain place liked plump abdomens, it would be ridiculous for a company to try to sell products meant to slim everyone's stomach down, because no one would buy the product and the company would lose money.

To be sure that their products are desirable to the population, companies will on the one hand study society for trends and then develop products that are compatible with those trends. On the other hand, however, companies themselves also try to create trends and to keep profitable trends going by promoting certain ideas over others and trying to get you to believe their ideas are good ones. Companies have many tactics for persuading you into thinking a particular idea, image, or product is the "right" one and worth spending your money on. Often these tactics consist of using actresses, models, sports heroes, and other people who exude images of health, physical strength, and beauty to endorse products. Advertisements involving such people imply that by using the product, you can become like the person who is endorsing the product. In the vast majority of cases, however, the famous or beautiful people you see never even used the product they are endorsing before they were offered money to endorse it!

North American Women: Battling to Be Thin

Walk down the checkout aisle at the grocery story. Turn on the television for ten minutes. Flip through a fashion magazine, or look at the advertisements hanging in storefronts. It's pretty clear what a beautiful North American young woman is supposed to look like. She's supposed to be tall and thin with perfect skin, voluptuous breasts, and long, flowing hair. But how many women do you know who actually look like this? The truth is that the female body you see on the front of that fashion magazine is an unattainable ideal. You may think that woman is simply blessed with rare genes. She probably is, but her beauty secret goes much further than that. She also has the benefit of dieticians, personal trainers, and makeup artists. Her job is to look good, so a huge portion of her time (and a great deal of money) is devoted to developing this image. Even with all this help, however, this woman will still never look as good walking down the street as she does on the cover of the magazine. That's because her beauty is not just the product of good genes, starvation, hard work, and talented artists. She has also been photographed under special lights and carefully planned conditions. After that photograph was taken, it went through an elaborate design process that included airbrushing and computer enhancement to minimize or eliminate any remaining "flaws" and to "improve" parts of the body. Like so much of what you will read inside that magazine, the picture on its cover is a work of fiction.

The look many women struggle so hard to obtain is unrealistic. All over North America, women and girls hate their bodies and spend a great amount of money trying to achieve something that only exists in pictures. The abuse of OTC drugs are just one of the dangers to which they may be vulnerable—but this is nevertheless a very real and potent danger.

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