Print Advertisement and Music Video Critique – Perfect Body Campaign And Chandelier

One fact that medical experts agree upon is the direct connection that exists between the media and eating disorders. In its quest to set trends and styles in society, the media has for a long time been dependent on body image as a conduit to pass its agenda. The society is also partly to blame as it has allowed the media to set beauty standards, particularly for women. What is unfortunate is that not all of these standards of attractiveness and beauty are achievable and have been blamed for driving young adolescents to eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa (Cassell & Gleaves, 2009, p. 40). Runway models, professional dancers, and actresses are in a profession largely dependent on their appearance. When their seemingly thin appearance is used as a symbol of beauty in television commercials, print advertisements and music videos a solid link is established between the media and eating disorders (Wagner, 2007, p. 23). The average woman would feel pressured to use whatever means possible to achieve these set standards of beauty to fit in that much coveted size 1. In this essay, I will be critiquing the “Perfect Body” campaign by Victoria’s Secret and Sia’s Chandelier music video with the primary focus being how the images presented in both instances become triggers for eating disorders.

Image 1: A print advertisement by Victoria’s Secret that depicts their version of “the perfect body”

Victoria’s Secret has for a long time been popular among young women due to its reputation of having sexy, classy and trendy undergarments. Most women who happen to shop from Victoria’s Secret (VS) do so solely because of the print advertisements ah they come across originating from the store . They end up feeling self-conscious and purchase these merchandise in the hope that they will improve their appearance. The image above is of an advertisement by the store dubbed the “perfect body” which seems to communicate a condescending message on what body image is acceptable in society. The ad campaign is not inclusive of all body types because not everyone has that Victoria’s Secret model body (“Victoria’s Secret Perfect Body Campaign,” n.d.). Perfection is relative and subjective, a fact that was the origin of my distaste with this ill-advised print advertisement. It is dangerous to argue that there is a “perfect body”. This axiom can have negative adverse effects on the self-esteem of many young girls and women worldwide. Even more dangerous in the print advertisement is the implication that the new undergarments donned by the scantily-dressed models can help improve one’s perfection. In this advertisement, Victoria’s Secret was successful in monetizing the insecurities of many young women which more often than not, leads to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, all in an attempt to fit into this distorted version of reality.

Image 2: A video image of Maddie Zieger performing in Sia’s “Chandelier” music video

Sia has gained worldwide acclaim for her beautiful singing technique enunciated by her raspy ethereal tone. She is among the most popular musicians in her native Aussie and worldwide, being a source of inspiration for those intending to delve deep into music performance or those who simply intend to enjoy good music. “Chandelier” is one of her most successful singles which owes much of its achievement to the intricate dance routine presented by Maddie Zieger, an 11-year-old dancer, who features prominently in its music video. The music video has managed to rake up 1.62 billion views and counting on YouTube and also scooped the Best Choreography category award during MTV Music Awards in 2014. The iconic video features an 11-year-old Maddie in motion throughout performing her interpretive dance routine while in a cream bodysuit and a blonde choppy wig (Sia – Chandelier (Official Video), n.d.). The young slender girl is definitely presented as the epitome of perfection as she glides around the rooms in sheer agility that is rare among most girls her age. Her body suit also exposes the outline of her slim body for all viewers to see. To viewers who are less critical, this might be interpreted as a cue to shun rounder and heavier bodies as they might not be attractive enough to be featured in music videos. Moreover, Sia who has admitted severally to suffering from her deep-seated insecurities, is not present in the video, a move that can be wrongly interpreted as her rooting for Maddie’s body form as ideal for her flick. Young impressionable girls might try aping what they see in this video and as a result develop eating disorders in their quest for the “perfect body”.

In conclusion, the media is the main culprit in spreading a false fantasy of an ideal body image. In the examples presented above, the images of thin and slender women are the common denominator in both examples which seems to suggest that the media tolerates and sanctions such depictions.  Advertisements and music videos have a powerful effect on individuals and how they view themselves together with how they think they should look whle presenting themselves to the world. The print media, in particular, has a profound influence and effect on how teenage girls view themselves. Researchers contend that young adolescent girls often rely heavily magazines for fashion tips and beauty information resulting in them valuing the advice provided highly (Woolf, 2014). The body images presented to consumers directly promote eating disorders with their constant viewing of publications that feature women dressed in tight clothing while others wearing close to nothing jus to exose an ideal thin body. Furthermore, these publications have comments posted below them regarding the “fantastic” and “amazing’’ appearance that subjects have. It is through such elucidations that the media becomes the genesis of food disorders in Western culture and globally.

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