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The Press Says “Heroin Chic” Is Back, and the BBL Aesthetic is Dying - Mass Media’s Effect on Women’s Body Image

Few things change faster than society’s view of the ideal women’s body type, and despite ‘body trends’ being highly problematic, the constant ebb and flow of which shapes and sizes are deemed desirable remains a sad reality.

A look at women in the spotlight over the last century demonstrates this perfectly, from Marilyn Monroe’s curves to Elle MacPherson’s slim athletic build, followed by Kate Moss’ quintessential supermodel frame and the accentuated hourglass figures of the Kardashian-Jenner clan.


Heroin chic is a term coined in the late ‘80s to describe fashion models with sallow skin and dark circles around their eyes. The term was first used by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who called Kate Moss’s 1992 Calvin Klein campaign the new heroin chic. 

This cultural phenomenon is not just limited to fashion models; heroin chic has been applied to women who are living in poverty or struggling with addiction.


According to Statistics, the number of cosmetics procedures performed in the United States grew from 1.6 million in 1997 to over 5.5 million in the year 2020. The age at which people opted for surgeries was noticeably younger, too.

The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons reported that around 230,000 cosmetic and 140,000 non-invasive procedures were performed on teenagers 

between the age of 13 and 19 that year.


It's no secret that the media has a huge impact on women's body image. From commercials to magazine covers, images of perfect women are constantly shoved in our faces. The result? Women feel like they are never good enough. Studies have shown that these messages can even affect a woman's self-esteem and how she feels about her body. 

Mass media has an especially strong influence on women's feelings of self worth and sexuality.

In conclusion, the mass media has a strong influence on women's body image. It can be difficult to understand how your personal self-image relates to that of an ideal woman. While there are many aspects of our culture that affect us negatively, it is important for us to find ways to avoid them or use them in a positive way.

AUTHOR: Jessica Byrne

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