The Illusionists documentary: Media and the effects on our body image

The marketing of unattainable beauty around the world.

illusionist1Most people in the U.S. are aware that the images that we see throughout the media have most likely been enhanced. Flaws have been airbrushed away and waistlines are made to look smaller than what they really are in real life.  But while many know that these images of beauty are unrealistic, business still use them to promote their products – promising us that if we use their product we can achieve this level of beauty. Elena Rossini, the filmmaker of The Illusionists, sets out to examine why advertising and the media continue to use these unrealistic images and how western ideals of beauty are affecting the rest of the globe.

What made Rossini start the process of creating a film that really divulged into how media’s beauty standards affect women today is that she started to see the how the many different women in her life were struggling with body issues. It took her three years to develop this film and had quite the challenge in getting her film funded.  She started a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter and was able to produce her movie.  Now her biggest obstacle is getting the film festivals to show her film.

The main awareness that she wanted to draw attention to in the film is what she calls visual pollution.  This visual pollution is what we are constantly being bombarded with images of ideals of beauty that is completely unrealistic.  Even the models that are photographed in these images do not look at all like what we see in the final image.  You don’t have to be just watching TV to see these images because they are everywhere – they are on the billboards, buses, magazines and any space that companies can use for advertising.

Although there has been more issues raised about the effects of media on women’s body image in the US, little awareness has been brought to the forefront of the rest of the world. Rossini wanted to make this film to draw attention to this ongoing problem and have people speak up against these media ideals.  It is harmful when the general population is consistently being shown images of beauty in a limited context when we are all look so different. Why is it that media thinks that there is only one standard of beauty when people all over the world are diverse.  And why do we accept this notion?  It can be harmful to a young population who are consistently seeing images of beauty that is so vastly different from what they look like.  These images that are completely unrealistic and unattainable and a harmful standard that media has now set.  What is great about her film is that though many of these concerns have been focused within the women community, she takes the time to focus on the effects that it has on men – which is still a taboo topic.

Elena Rossini’s film, The Illusionist, is a great documentary on how this is affecting us today.  It is her goal to bring awareness to the growing problem and to have this generation challenge back and demand to see all varying types of beauty – not just this one standard.  Has the media standards of beauty affected your own body image?


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