Body Typed: media illusions of the perfect body (3 Film Package)

Use humor to start important conversations -- from different cultural angles.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
40 mins
Remote video URL


BODY TYPED is package of PBS & Sundance award-winning short films (& a new interactive website) that uses humor to raise serious questions about the marketplace of commercial illusion and unrealizable standards of physical perfection.

3 Short Films help educators start important conversations about body image, media, and self-esteem.

- Wet Dreams and False Images (Winner: Sundance Film Festival, ALA/ YALSA Award)

- The Guarantee (Best Short Film - Newport International Film Festival)

- 34x25x36 (National PBS Broadcast on POV)

Plus DVD Extras Including the related New York Times Op-Doc "Sex, Lies and Photoshop"

Website with free media literacy/ photo retouching video game:


Featured review

If there's education like this maybe another girl will be spared years of shame and embarrassment for not resembling the perfected bodies in magazines.
High School Student
Classroom Screening


Wet Dreams and False Images (12 min.)

Exposes the art of digital photo-retouching. How do images of perfect female beauty influence men's perceptions of real women? And, how we see ourselves?

The Guarantee (11 min.)

Teasing, self-perception, cultural identity, and plastic surgery.

How would changing our bodies to try to fit an image alter the way we see ourselves? -- Or even who we are? A dancer's hilarious story about his prominent "Italian" nose and the effect it has on his career.

34x25x36 (8 min.)

A look at mannequins, religion and perfection. Enter the inner workings of the Patina V Mannequin Factory and see what goes into making "the ideal woman of the moment - in plastic."

Recommended for academic and public libraries, Body Typed is an excellent instructional and discussion resource for communication, media, psychology, and gender curricula."

Educational Media Reviews Online


These films make the study of society and the media relevant to students by speaking to their everyday experiences and inspires them to speak as well -- guaranteed to spark lively classroom conversations.
Astra Taylor
Department of Sociology SUNY New Paltz
Revealing, sensitive, and yes, funny.
Stephen Duncombe
Prof. Media and Cultural Studies NYU
BODY TYPED is an excellent instructional and discussion resource for communication, media, psychology, and gender curricula.
Margaret M. Reed
Educational Media Reviews Online
Recommended Patina V makes what company owner Norman Glazer calls "the perfect body": female mannequins sized 34 x 25 x 36. In filmmaker Jesse Epstein's engaging and disquieting documentary short, viewers are taken on a brief tour of the Patina V factory...
The title of this fascinating documentary refers to the dimensions of the perfect woman, as defined by the owner of the Patina V mannequin factory in California. Epstein traces the craft from the initial sculpture, where clay is molded into the image of a real model (who very nearly bites her lip when she's told she's being improved upon) to the molding process to the final assembly. Shot on a mix of straightforward video and impressionistic super 8, the film gets particularly interesting when the factory owner traces the lineage from religious iconography to storefront fashion displays.By turns informative, funny and unsettling, 34 x 25 x 36 is a 100% perfect documentary.
David Lowery
David Lowery
That is an awesome video. I watched it last weekend with my nine-year-old daughter, who was sighing over a picture of Rhianna's hair as we downloaded some music. Nothing like living with a fashion-conscious, body-conscious kiddo to raise your awareness of how much crap is out there, flying right at her.
Mother to nine-year-old girl
Mother to nine-year-old girl

Awards and Screenings

Sundance Film Festival Jury Award
ALA/ YALSA Award -- Top Video for Young Adults
National PBS Broadcast on POV
MoMA Screening
Mass MoCA Screenings

Director Commentary

What I love about short films is you can get in there, raise some questions, tell a little story and get out, leaving it all open for discussion. These films are meant to explore, ask questions, and start conversations. As a director, I am not interested in telling people that it is wrong to try to look beautiful, or to strive to be fit. But, I do mean to uncover how advertising is creating impossible standards, which no one is able to live up to in real life, expectations that if held onto, can prevent us from being truly happy in the bodies we live in. My goal is to expose the “man behind the curtain” or the artists behind the industry and to better understand how notions of perfection are constructed. But what happens when we meet the “man behind the curtain?” It’s easy to point fingers, but I believe this is a more complicated debate. We are all people doing this. Anthropologically, I wonder -- why are we creating perfect images of ourselves?

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • DVD Extras

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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