Whether we like it or not, we are heavily influenced by culture, its gender roles and the media. Starting at a young age, children learn how they're supposed to look and act through simple things like the toys they play with. As they grow older, they take on new influences like TV or magazines and look up to the seemingly perfect people they see in the movies or strutting the runway. Not everyone succumbs to social pressures to look a certain way, but for those who do, struggle to do so because they're striving to meet a false sense of perfection developed by the media and culture. Many women and men become insecure about their bodies, making them feel that they need to change themselves, mostly through potentially harmful approaches in order to fit the mold that has been pushed on them.
Gender roles differ in each culture and it gives people a norm on how they are supposed to look or act based on their gender. In their article, Gender Roles, Amanda Ryan and Sadie Hoxmeier explains that, "Gender Roles have forced society to form a stereotype of what the 'perfect woman' and 'perfect man' should be. People base this 'perfect woman and man' off of what they see in magazines, television shows, advertisements, music, and art" (5). What these people see are false ideals of men and women. They're only people that has had everything that made them real erased or "improved" by photoshop. Liz Jones, and ex-editor of Marie Claire shows readers the reality of the men and women we see in magazines in her essay, What I Think About the Fashion Industry. She recalls how one men's magazine had, "put one star's head on another woman's body-apparently, her original breasts weren't 'spherical enough'" (Jones 23). The media and culture has created false ideals for people to conform to which also shapes gender roles. That being said, perhaps if the media changed the way they portray men and women, gender roles too, would be different.