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Escaping the Influence

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The media uses beauty and set to sell, promote, and persuade; and the average American watches four hours of TV and spends 3 hours online a day. That’s seven hours of the media’s influence! Our over exposure to the media has created an epidemic of negative body image and warped our views on beauty and perfection.

The sexual expectations set by the media are unattainable. The internet has provided younger and younger boys with access to x-rated material, and girls know it. Pre-teens are now comparing themselves to this overly sexual and controversial material. Even with the internet aside, from ‘Go Daddy’ commercials to ‘Axe’ body spray, our youth are shown the ‘Importance’ of sex and beauty.

But don’t think for a second that blocking adult websites and watching family friendly TV channels is a adequate escape. An even more detrimental threat lurks in ‘Abc Family’ and likewise programming. This threat is Everyday Expectations. Just spend five minutes watching ‘Pretty Little Liars’ or ‘iCarly’, what do you see? Hours of hair, makeup, professionals styling and lighting are exactly what you DON’T see, and neither do your children. The everyday expectation to look glamour shot perfect is both unattainable and detrimental to body image.
Don’t think it stops there! Because if you pick up a celebrity, teen, or tween magazine you’d realize the problem continues. These publications glorify the rich and beautiful, while at the same time mocking their mistakes. Weight gain/loss is tracked, outfits are studied, hairstyles explained, and the boy advice is endless. Your weight conscious, overly makeuped, and already dating Fifth Grader is that way for a reason.

So now that we’ve studied out media influences, you might be thinking “What do you want me to do? Lock my kid in the closet?” No, sheltering our youth is impossible with this level of exposure, and not everything about the TV and internet is bad. Instead, we must promote positive body image. Remind our kids that actresses have stylist, diet coaches, and professional lighting. Mention that everyone is built differently and we all have unique beauty. You should remind your teen that sex is about love, because the media isn’t do anyone a favor these days.





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