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 The Swan 
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When we were talking about body image, I was reminded of the television show called The Swan. If you haven't seen it, they pick two women to make over. They go through extensive surgery to change their appearance. After they have recovered, a panel of judges choose who is to move onto the beauty pagent at the end of the season. Personally, I think this show it terrible. How can these women go through all this surgery only to be judged on who looks the best after the surgery? I am so disappointed in how much society relies on physical appearance.


Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:13 pm
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I know!! I saw it once on television and thought it too was awful! I cannot believe that someone would put their whole life on hold to be made over for a slim chance of making it into the beauty pageant. It is incredible just how much our society has changed just over the past few years. I can just image how it will be when we have kids.
This was a good connection. I had not even thought about that.


Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:35 pm
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I had to chime in on this one, too. I actually watched it- the whole thing! The drama of "The Swan" was so seductive. I kept thinking, "This is sick, this is wrong", and at the same time, understanding how women could be so drawn to it because they were teased at school, not accepted by society for who they really were unless they looked traditionally "beautiful."

So much of it was about their sense of self, and how poorly that was developed because they didn't fit a traditional western mold of female beauty. So they changed their bodies. Amazing.

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Wed Mar 30, 2005 3:24 pm
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I watched the first few episodes of The Swan, and I too was drawn to it in a weird sort of way. Its kind of like a car crash – you don’t want to look but curiosity gets the best of you anyway. It was interesting, but at the same time I really didn’t like how the women turned out. And if your notice after a while they all start looking very similar, and very fake.

You can change the outside easily if you have the money, but if you don’t fix the inside you’ve done it all for nothing. There’s a phenomenon among a few gastric bypass patients who actually gain the weight back after a few years. No matter how small you make your stomach, it has the full potential to stretch back to how it was. They fixed the physical instead of the emotional, which may have been the cause of the severe obesity in the first place. I see the same problem in the contestants of The Swan. They lose weight to become physically healthier, but turn to a surgeon to complete their emotional happiness. They are looking for a quick fix to make everything perfect, when in fact these women have severe emotional issues that can not be cured by a plastic surgeon.


Wed Mar 30, 2005 7:52 pm
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I have a friend who is very unhappy about her body. She watched the Swan and some other show, I forget what it's called (but ultimately they take a perfectly fine woman and turn her into a floatation device...). And she told me once that she wanted to write into these shows to make herself look better - because THEN and only THEN would she be happy. I hate breaking it to her, but I do (gently) that no doctor, no pills are going to make her feel better about herself. She says to me that if only she had my body then she'd feel better about herself. I tell her that I, like so many other women, have issues about my body as well. We all do. And I think that's really sad.
I've heard countless teenage girls (be it in high school or at summer camp) just bash themselves - my nose is too big, my boobs are too small, my thighs are too fat, my stomach is flabby - and they go on and on and on. Comparing themselves with models and with each other. It is so unhealthy.
I really do blame it on the media. Whole-heartedly. Whenever I decide to stop buying magazines, stop watching movies, and turn off the TV - that is when I feel better. It's no coincidence. If I had to give one piece of advice to teenage girls it would be just that: turn off the boob tube (i mean really...), and surround yourself with positive images of women.
Sorry, I just had to rant a little. And I must say, I feel a hell of a lot better now that I did.

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Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:51 pm
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I realize that I'm older than the majority of the class and my opinon may have come with age. Personally, I hate reality TV and generally stay away from it. When I was in high school, I felt like the ugly duckling and sometime still do. Yet on most days, I am comfortable with who I am and how I look. My focus for my looks now are for my health and not how will others see me. However, I am also aware that living a healthier life will improve my looks.


Fri Apr 01, 2005 4:17 pm
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It really frustrates me how much the media influences the way that women think about themselves. I never watched The Swan and I try to stay away from too much reality TV, it is really stupid. I am hardly ever home to watch TV as my schedule is just crazy always. I am upset though how much people are willing to do for the sake of beauty. When did we stop realizing that people have inner beauty?? I have watched several people recently go through some hard times with friendships changing, simply because their friends only value superficial things now. All they talk about is clothes, makeup, and how they look. It is really sad, quite pathetic I thought. I didn't even want to be around them. It was so hard to carry on a normal conversation with these 2 girls. Both of them, have so much identity now in clothes and makeup that it is hard to see the real them. They like to find their security in being attractive and "getting guys."

I hate that the media has played such a powerful role in all this. Women constantly compete against one another now and go to crazy extremes to achieve outer beauty. I care about people's inner beauty. I hope that is what other people are attracted to when they look at me. I don't want to be just a "pretty face," but a beautiful person. Why can't women realize that they are beautiful the way they were created to be?! Everyone is unique and different and that makes for a much more interesting world. I want to just be me and be okay with that. SO like Cindy said, the less TV I watch and magazines I read, the better I feel about myself. It would be great if the media would make large strides towards changing the way women are portrayed.


Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:05 pm
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Ah, the swan...cause you know what that implies-that the rest of us are still ugly ducklings! Just as we discussed in class this is a prime example of why women put so much emphasis on appearance. I mean if it did not matter then why would all those women volunteer and then put themselves through weeks of torture to win a BEAUTY pageant!? Beauty is the eye of the beholder...and I will never forget that! :D


Tue Apr 05, 2005 11:19 pm
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This show is so sad. I feel so bad for those women who go on the show because they are so depressed due to their looks. I just can not imagine how television can exploit these women and their feelings like it does. And what is the deal with the beauty pageant at the end? If they were truly doing this to make themselves feel better, then why do they need to compare their "new" looks to the other girls? I believe it is because as a society people judge what each person looks like and ranks them according to how they look. For example (this is an extreme one), I know of a group of boys who takes pictures of the girls they have been with and puts them on a huge wall in their living room. They each rank their own girls and then they rank them all together to see who has been with the best looking girl. How did our society get this cruel? Are people immune to other's feelings? I am starting to believe so, and that is truly sad.


Fri Apr 08, 2005 10:30 am
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This is a weird topic…….I think that plastic surgery is sad and that our society is sad form making other human beings feel so bad about their image that they have to have it removed or changed. I would say that plastic surgery should be illegal and that no one should be able to get a boob job or get all the fat sucked of their body, but at the same time if society makes someone feel so bad about their appearance to the point that they are depressed or suicidal then maybe they should have these operations.

I think shows like the swan are horrible and very sad, but we shouldn’t criticize the show we should criticize our society for making everyone think that thin is beautiful and you must look perfect in order to fit in. If God wanted all of us to look the same he would have made us that way. :D


Tue Apr 12, 2005 3:59 pm
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I agree with the seductive nature of the show because it makes you wonder how many women would actually sacrifice their growth in other ways to wait to become a "swan" or accepted. I dont thin kthese women are lesser for their desire though. Its hard to resist the opportunity at what seems like the "answer" to all the obstacles in there life.


Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:14 pm
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I was horrified after seeing this show on television. What is even sadder than the show itself if the media's reaction to the show. I read an article in a magazine that picked apart the surgery that the contestants did receive. These women wanted society to approve of them by trying to make themselves over and yet people still judge and say that their surgery was not good enough. It seems that if people in life were a little nicer then plastic surgery would not even be popular because we would be more willing to accpet differences. As someone that is not thin it is hard for me to find clothes. It seems that life has reverted back to the survival of the fittest and the people that are not gorgeous or then are just tossed aside.


Sun Apr 24, 2005 5:28 pm
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