malevolent media

October 30, 2008
By
“So, what happened to her?” the jittery mother asks the doctor, the dark circles around her bloodshot eyes sucking her face of all color, “will she be okay?”
“It’s a good thing you brought her in,” he replies, glancing down at the frail girl in the hospital bed and then back to the mother with pity, “One more week of her forced vomiting, and she would have never been the same again.”
The girl blinks and moves slightly to acknowledge them, but she is so “scary skinny”, that her own mother looks away, too scared to see what her daughter had become. The truth is, even though this girl was saved, she will never be the same again. She has much more time left in this hospital, her every action noticed and recorded, her life depending on a few beeping machines. After that, she will probably go to a nutritionists and a therapist, to try and restore her body image so she has the confidence to go back to her everyday life, knowing her classmates now know her as “the bulimic girl”. Even if she can shake that label, and fight those negative thoughts, she will probably struggle with her body image for the rest of her life. Thousands of other men, women, and children around the world, have conditions less severe, similar to her state, or even worse, all of them working to relieve the burden their eating disorder imposed.

In my eyes, the culprit for poor body images is the media. If you flip through a magazine, almost every clothing, makeup, or sports add has a young, insanely skinny girl and a super-strong guy, two unrealistic images of what today’s teens look like. Deep down, we all know it’s almost impossible to look like that, but we get drawn in by it, and secretly wish that’s’ what we looked like. These thoughts seem fairly harmless at first but when not addressed, they can quickly escalate to very serious and sometimes life-threatening issues. That’s why the Dove campaign is a really good idea, they show real people in their adds, not skinny supermodels who probably have eating disorders themselves.

Sometimes the media influence us indirectly, by affecting our role models first. Nowadays, it seems like every famous person gets him or herself into trouble and makes the wrong choices. It is hard to find one to feel good about looking up to. Everyone says that its fame getting to stars’ heads, without really knowing what’s going on in that star’s life. Believe it or not, stars read some of the same trashy magazines as we do, and those trashy lies they call headlines can be hurtful! Things like “so-and-so can’t seem to lose those extra pounds” make us feel better about ourselves, thinking “ they’re not so great after all”, but the stars are just like us and don’t want their weight or other struggles plastered all over the magazines. These negative headlines can make stars feel insecure and lost, especially young stars just starting out. For many, those lies can become too much and they crack. And once they do crack, the media does more pieces on how they are “falling apart”, which doesn’t help matters. Some start doing drugs, drinking their problems away or get obsessed with weight or fitness, which is not good for them or a good example for kids and teens looking up to them.


In this article, I have made it my main focus to inform on how the media effects poor body image, and I think that it is important to people to know these effects. The only way to stop this cause of poor body image is to stop the media from writing hurtful things and running unrealistic ads. But, if this is not possible yet, small steps to take are not reading these on your Sunday afternoons and reading a book or writing a letter to the editor of the trashy, hurtful, magazines! You’ll benefit from the more intellectual stimulation and maybe change what’s written in the magazines sales too!





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musicgirl757 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 16, 2009 at 9:05 pm
This was amazing, I almost cried during the beginning part, when the mom looks away, and i can imagine how upset the girl must feel about what shes done to herself. amazing story!
 
GMELZ said...
Nov. 6, 2008 at 2:30 am
AN AMAZING WORK OF SUBERB LITERATURE
 
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