If you want to look as good as Rhianna, you need to buy her MAC makeup line. This is what advertisements tell us. You wear the makeup but you still do not match up to how she appears. What you are not being told is that you need a personal trainer, stylist, hair and makeup artist, and a good photographer with excellent photo shop skills to actually look like her.
The power of media to control our thoughts and ideas on what we want to look like and what we want to own is incredibly strong. What is most unsettling about this is the fact that most people are unconscious to the media’s effect on what we expect from ourselves. Women want to be respected and taken seriously, but how can that happen when the covers of magazines and television…anywhere the media has a hold, shows us “flawless” women we aspire to be. They must be what is socially acceptable. Many of these women are shown wearing next to nothing, or posing in sexual manners. This encourages sexism… if women want to be like the media portrays, who is to say that men will not have the same expectations of them?
The cover of Cosmopolitan can be easily taken apart. Jessica Alba, beautifully retouched and perfectly disproportionate, lifts her dress and gazes at the viewer with an “I want you” stare. There are different ways of seeing this and it is all in the eye of the beholder. Some may say she appears more playful or innocent, shy and insecure. But the body language ultimately speaks for itself.
Plastered over the cover are the bold words “SEX” and “HIS #1 Fantasy”. This is a way that hegemony is put into play. Anyone who walks past this magazine, male or female, is being told that men must be pleased especially sexually. Since Jessica Alba is on the cover, it must be true. She looks like the epitome of perfection. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to achieve such status.
Pop culture is a large culprit in consumerism and the want to have the newest, best, and most highly coveted looks and items. If a celebrity has a new designer hand bag you too can look just as good as her by sporting the same item across your boney arm.
The representation of humans in the media is skewed in order to overpower and control the consumers into believing they must achieve a certain standard. In order to do so, they must obtain certain things and usually these are far from obtainable for the average person.