General Article The perfect body illusion

Topic Selected: Body Image Book Volume: 375

By Victoria Stockwell

Do you wish you looked like the girl in the magazine? I will let you into a secret…the girl in the magazine doesn’t even look like that.

I should know: I have been that girl.

Representations of the ‘perfect’ female body are pervasive throughout modern society, consolidated and perpetuated by an omnipresent mass media.

Online, this ideal can be found on a variety of platforms ranging from YouTube workout videos, to image-laden websites such as Instagram.

Every week we are bombarded with around 5000 of these ‘inspirational’ bodies which, thanks to our surgically attached smartphones, can be viewed any time, anywhere.

In today’s hyper-saturated image culture, this aesthetic ideal is extremely powerful; and its prolific distribution serves to reinforce our obsession with physical appearance.

Studies suggest that frequent exposure to these ideals places women, particularly

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