Tina Fey’s joke about how women should change their bodies is a stereotype about women’s body image. All women are expected to have specific body images. The color of their eyes should be blue while their skin should be hairless just like the Asian skin. In order to qualify to be beautiful, other attributes such as having the Swiss legs have also been included. Tina Fey mentioned all these attributes in her joke, which seemed to be a mere stereotype to women.
These attributes which people have placed on women are merely mental stereotypes. Women are already pre-judged and required to look in a particular way or have some attributes or body image. Every woman should be left to live just the way she is (Barlett et al, 2018). Comparing body or forcing women to look like a specific model or a popular artist is a way of stereotyping them.
In her joke, Tina Fey fails to realize that explaining how far women have come from while trying to change their bodies is stereotypical. She says that women initially wanted to have a body which looks like that of Jenifer Lopez. However, they changed again and all wanted to be like Beyoncé, to be quite slim but not thin (Grabe et al, 2017). She explains how having the Swedish legs is desirable to all women. However, it should not be this way. All these would make women want to change their physical appearances, and those who fail to have such attributes are seen as exceptional.
This stereotype of body image has now been deep-rooted in the society. This is because even young girls grow up believing in these stereotypes which are against themselves. The stereotype of body image begins when young girls are given Barbie dolls. These dolls are often made to mimic the body of a slim white woman (Grabe et al, 2017). Young girls, therefore, grow up admiring to have bodies like these Barbie dolls. These dolls enhance the stereotype that all women should have the same physical appearance such as being slim and white.
Little girls even start dieting and wearing make up in order to have a similar body image to the models. This brings about retarded growth and unhealthy bodies since the kids do not eat as they should do. Stereotype on body image is also enhanced by the models. All the models who win awards are always thin and blonde (Grabe et al, 2017). The fat women never attempt modeling. Even if they model, they always work out in order to get that ‘perfect’ body of a slim woman.
Physical attractiveness should not be based on the body image of a woman. This is because it causes many women to compare their bodies with those of the models often pictured in magazines. The society believes that women should be slim in order for them to look good. Clearly, this is a way of telling the huge women that they are not good looking (Polce-Lynch et al, 2011). Since the slim women are given full attention while the fat ones are ignored, the fat women often experience low self-esteem.
The stereotype of body image in women also enhances racism. This is because according to Tina Fey’s joke, women want to have Indian hair. This also means that the hair of people from other races is unwanted (Stice et al, 2014). This causes people to have a bad image of having dreadlocks. When one has them, he/she might be seen as a bad person who smokes weed. Associating some people with some behaviors due to their hairstyle is stereotypical.
The research question chosen is “What is the most appropriate method which can be used to eliminate body image stereotypes.” Another research question would be “What are the most efficient measures which can be put in place to ensure that the media is used to inhibit body image stereotype rather than enhancing the stereotype.”
Barlett et al (2018). Meta-analyses of the effects of media images on men’s body-image concerns. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 27(3), 279-310.
Grabe et al (2017). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: a meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological Bulletin, 134(3), 460.
Polce-Lynch et al (2011). Adolescent self-esteem and gender: Exploring relations to sexual harassment, body image, media influence, and emotional expression. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30(2), 225-244
Stice et al (2014). Relation of media exposure to eating disorder symptomatology: an examination of mediating mechanisms. Journal of abnormal psychology, 103(4), 836.