Media is Hurting Our Generation’s Self Image


Kiley Russell, Staff Reporter

If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that models with thin, tanned, toned bodies, healthy long hair, perfect teeth, beautiful skin and airbrushed faces seem to be constantly displayed on billboards. Similar advertisements fill social media, inevitably leading to unachievable expectations, causing kids within our generation to feel the need to achieve such looks, even though the images are touched up and tampered with, showing woman who weigh 23% less than what the average woman weighs.

Media and advertisements such as these change the way these kids see themselves, rather than accepting what their appearance truly is. Although the media may not mean to try to set standards, they do it to catch the attention of others through platforms like billboards. For example, a tanning salon will advertise a thin model with big breasts and long hair so when people drive by it catches their attention.       

A big issue with publications and magazines today include showing superstars at their worst—whether it’s zooming in on their face in HD showing all their facial flaws, or showing them in swim suits exposing cellulite. This shows the kids growing up within our generation that having flaws, or cellulite is normal. But what media make it out to be is far from what we want to think. The media targets celebrities to photograph and document their imperfections. The media says it’s gross, and how they shouldn’t have such impurities such as cellulite or acne. It shows us what we should believe, how we view others, how we see flaws, what we should consider to be gross, and what we should consider to be unnatural and something that we should not have.

The media not only hurts self image, but impairs our judgment. We are born in a society where everything is already laid out for us. Dress normal, look normal — but also be yourself, don’t be fake, don’t act like that, sit up straight, close your legs, sit like a lady, stand tall, don’t speak up, lose weight, gain weight, be your best self. There are so many pressures from unknown and outside sources, and so many expectations that teenagers cannot achieve.

However, there are many ways we can help to make a difference and create an awareness for the issue. One way to bring awareness is to create an ad campaign to raise awareness and stop Photoshopping celebrities to create an unrealistic desire to achieve such looks. Smalls steps would be to unfollow celebrities on social media, or to create a safe environment within schools from middle to high school. Teaching self love, bringing it into schools starting at a younger age, can help their generation be aware of the challenges they may face in their near future.

Many strongly believe that media hurts self image, as do I. Even I find myself scrolling through Instagram or Twitter seeing women posing, showing off their tight, toned abs, saying how all you need to do is eat the right stuff! Eat everything green, or don’t eat too much. If they make it sound so easy to achieve such looks, then why isn’t it working for me? Why don’t I look like that?

Well, I myself am completely aware of the issues media causes within my society — I’ve seen several friends fall under the impact of it, but I accept myself for who I am, how my body looks and the genes I share with my parents I am proud to have, never questioning why I look the way I do. I love me and how I perceive myself regardless of other women I see on social media and I believe everyone should see themselves as such, not to compare themselves to others, and to not see someone and wish they could look as such. Media shows fabricated, ridiculous and often unachievable standards of beauty. You cannot accept yourself for who you are if you do not accept that what you see on social media is not how you’re supposed to look.

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