Toronto Metropolitan University
Nantais, Erin MRP.pdf (269.61 kB)

Am I Pretty? The Influence of Mainstream Media on Beauty Ideals

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posted on 2023-05-25, 14:12 authored by Erin Nantais

Why is a specific, narrow, and stereotypical standard of beauty typically perceived as more valuable, more worthy, and more desirable than others? Commercial and mainstream media play a significant role in carefully crafting societal expectations of beauty standards and ideals. This research project analyzes well-known body-positive advertisements, campaigns, and popular mainstream media to identify trends and embedded messages that reinforce negative and stereotypical beauty ideals. This research takes a critical perspective on the ways in which commercial media can influence the way we view others and ourselves. This research suggests that unrealistic and narrow beauty ideals have been created and maintained through media with the ultimate goal of making a profit from consumers’ insecurities. The overarching contradictions and communicated messages of the analyzed advertisements and literature are reflected and communicated through text and photography in a digital magazine format entitled “Am I Pretty?”. This project utilizes messages and themes often communicated indirectly by commercial media and flips those messages back to the reader, encouraging deeper critical reflection about media messages of beauty we often passively internalize. “Am I Pretty?” is a critical reflection of beauty ideals embedded in mainstream media that we so blindly value and look up to. 





  • Master of Digital Media


  • Digital Media

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Cheryl Thompson