Advertisements and Body Image

Advertisements have the power to shape the belief of a person and convince them into buying a particular product. But often these advertisement campaigns, especially the ones related to beauty products, promote an unrealistic body image which affects the consumer’s state of mind. They glorify and emphasize the importance of physical appearance and set certain standards of beauty. 

 This can affect not only the mind but also the social and emotional state of a person. It can lead to low self esteem issues and impact their overall well-being. Youngsters and teenagers are the most vulnerable to this negative impact of advertisements. They idealize the body image shown in the advertisements and end up with body dissatisfaction or taking drastic measures in order to change the body. 

The issue of Body Image

Body image refers to one’s perception about one’s size and shape of body. Body dissatisfaction is experienced when the person feels that they do not fit into the perception of body image. This can lead to unhealthy habits like chronic dieting . 

Nationwide Surveys conducted in the USA during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s,  indicated that both men’s and women’s body image perceptions were becoming more and more negative with the growth of print and television advertisements. 

When it comes to beauty products or fashion related content, the models are always shown to be extremely thin. This stereotypical standard of beauty leads to body related anxiety issues and eating disorders among women. Likewise, Men are always stereotyped to have a physically strong, lean, and muscular body. 

Similarly racist attitudes are also promoted by many fairness product’s advertisements. Fairness creams, powders, etc. showcase fair skin as the standard of beauty. This issue of fairness creams was widely questioned and criticized recently, especially on social media.


Some advertisements set unattainable goals for the consumer. For instance the unrealistic standards are set like a totally spotless and ever-glowing face, or always having silky smooth hair. These notions of beauty are far from reality, they are unlike the people that we see in our everyday life. Trendy clothes, perfectly smooth skin,etc. is glamorized to the extent that people consider it to be the “perfect body”. 

However, due to recent debates around the issue of body image being shaped by advertisements, some advertisements have started promoting body positivity. More advertisement campaigns that promote body positivity and inclusivity are required for normalization and acceptance of the non-stereotypical body images in society.

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