Advertisements are the most influential media in our world. They shape our ideasand affect our look and behavior.
People look at pictures and tend to mimic whatthey see. Nowadays, advertisements depict women in a passive/submissive, almostchildlike manner. This implies that women are subdued, that they need to becontrolled and dominated. Or that they are not beautiful unless they resemblethe models. In other words, fat, short, stubby, too tall, too skinny, differentethnicity is not attractive. Entering into adolescence can be one of the moststressful times in one’s lifetime.
This is a time when they begin to discoverwho they are. They are becoming more independent and are establishingfriendships. Venturing into the teenage years can be a very emotional,stressful, confusing time. By no means is it easier for males than females,though females tend to be bombarded with “perfection imagery” more so thanmales.
Some make the change from childhood into adolescence with only a fewminor problems, others however, may have a more difficult time handling thepressures and some look to our culture as an example. Many fear the weight thatis gained during this time is permanent, will panic, and desperately try to takethe weight off. Our culture portrays this excess weight as unattractive and insome cases, disgusting, leading to low self-esteem. They are not aware that oncethe physical changes during this time cease, their weight will usually stableoff and will maintain their body’s natural set point. Once they start losingweight, they feel better, as if they are conforming to society’s set pattern.
Complements and acceptance once not received can fuel the drive to look like theface in the magazine. Teenagers are under a lot of pressure to succeed and fitin. Many spend a lot of time worrying about what others think and theydesperately try to conform to society's unattainable "ideal" bodyimage. They are lead to believe that if they are thin, they will be accepted.Since many teenagers are constantly buying teen or fashion magazines, the imagesof emaciated models appearing in those magazines only reinforces their beliefthat in order to be happy, successful and accepted, they must be thin.Television shows like Beverly Hills 90210 also leads them to believe that theymust be thin.
They watch these shows all the time and many will do anything totry and look like the actresses on these shows. Many teenagers need a role modeland someone to look up to. Unfortunately, too many of them choose fashion modelsor actresses as their role models, they paste pictures of them all over theirrooms, and some will resort to dangerous methods of weight control to try andlook like their idols. Can we honestly keep telling ourselves that these youngwomen are not products of their environments? Our modern culture minimallyaddresses this issue using the defense that “beauty sells.
” Once again weare faced with the paradox that beauty is portrayed and perverted by modernmedia. We need to teach our teenagers that the images they face everyday,whether it is in television, film, or print are not the norm. If they are happywith themselves and love who they are, they will be less likely to try andattain society's unattainable "ideal" body image, because they willaccept their bodies just the way they are.