I just wanted to post my essay on here, in hopes that someone will read it and change their perspective on some things.
Melissa M. Tobias
Governor’s School 2013
Issues in Contemporary Culture
Society is quickly evolving and changing from the ways it was just decades ago. In doing so, there are many flaws in the modern-day world we are living in. These flaws include the human standard, or image, we are all expected to live up to. However, this “perfect being” is not real; it is only a figment of our imaginations, but it still affects people in a negative way.
Everywhere we look, we see pictures of these flawless human beings with perfect skin, hair, and a small waistline. If one skims through a clothing or cosmetics magazine, only those deemed perfect by society appear in it. One will most likely never see a woman who wears a dress size eight or above, and a man who doesn’t have abdominal muscles. This has an extremely negative effect on the children in the country.
Kids and teenagers are exposed to these “perfect” people everyday, and of course want to look and be like them. They are willing to take drastic measures in order to do so sometimes. The average size for a teenage girl is a size twelve. The girls on television are usually a four or under. The boys who are shown on shows are also significantly smaller than the average teenage boy. When teenagers see this, they want that body, too. This sometimes causes them to develop unhealthy habits, such as anorexia or bulimia. The media is ruining the future generations of America, and the world.
In order to fix such a large problem with today’s society and culture, everyone would need to chip in to the change by doing simple things. For example, magazines could choose a wider variety of models, and producers could cast more people of different sizes and appearances. By doing this, regular people would feel more comfortable and confident in their own skin, which would improve the entire country’s outlook on life. Although the media doesn’t seem like something that could cause much harm, it truly does, and I got a first hand look on all of this.
The constant pressure to be perfect was weighing down on me, and breaking me. I couldn’t take being the “fat girl” any longer. Seeing all of these unrealistic images of beautiful people crushed me, and made me want to change, so I stopped eating. Looking back I see that it was a poor choice, but I know now that I grew from it. Most people think that anorexia, suicide, bulimia, and other mental illnesses only happen in movies, but they’re real. It is something that is completely overlooked by society, so it won’t improve unless we shine a light on it. All of this is really important to me because I have lost friends to such battles in life, and I don’t want anyone else to have to struggle with this pain.
In my opinion, media is one of the biggest, and worst influences on today’s culture and society. It causes so much emotional pain, even though it is not always shown on the surface. A few decades ago, the media was not this much of a barrier towards adolescent development, but now that it is everywhere, it’s destroying the confidence and well-being of young people, one person at a time. It is necessary that we change this before the entire generation crashes and gets sucked up into the imaginary concept of perfection. In conclusion, media is the biggest struggle in today’s culture.