In this day in age, we are constantly being persuaded by the media into doing many different things. It is widely known that the media has some sort of power over us, that we can’t seem to escape from. How we dress, how we talk, where we live, how we look etc, are all in some way or another influenced by the media. The media, however, cannot be trusted because they say one thing one minute, then they say the complete opposite the next.
There are many television shows, magazine articles, and ads that demonstrate this contradicting behavior. Let’s take a look at the show “America’s Next Top Model”. Tyra Banks, tells the contestants how they should love themselves and their bodies, and have great self-esteem, while telling them how to lose weight, and become more good looking. Magazines do the same exact thing. In “Teen Mags” by Anastasia Higginbotham, she says how magazines are “telling girls how to make themselves prettier, cooler, and better,” (94). Another example she sets, is how girls are taught to love their bodies, while they are looking at magazines that are covered with skinny, flawless white models, in expensive clothing (95). In “Inventing the Cosmo Girl” by Laurie Ouellette, she explains “Sex and the Single Girl promised every girl the chance to acquire a stylish and attractive aura by copying fashion models and wealthy women,”(120). Magazines like Cosmo Girl present us with endless ways to change our physical appearance, how to lose weight, or how to “construct a whole new image,”(120). How are girls supposed to feel good about themselves when they are bombarded with such images and articles.
The effects of these images we are seeing are evident. Many women, unhappy with their bodies, are looking for ways to change themselves. In a piece by Naomi Wolf, “The Beauty Myth”, she explains that “eating disorders rose exponentially and cosmetic surgery became the fastest growing medical specialty”,(120). Wolf even goes on to say that women today are trapped, “there is no door to slam,” (125). Everywhere we look, there it is. The television show, the commercial, the ad, the magazine. All telling us how we should look, what we should say, what to wear, what not to wear, etc. It is because of these conflicting messages that this world has come to where we are, a place where we all want an unattainable image only seen in the media.
1) Higginbotham, Anastasia. “Teen Mags”. Becoming a Woman in Our Society. 93-96.
2) Ouellette, Laurie. “Inventing the Cosmo Girl”. Gender, Race, and Class in Media. United States of America: Sage Publications, 2003.116-126.
3) Wolf, Naomi. “The Beauty Myth.” Becoming a Woman in Our Society. 120-126.