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The Negative Effects That The Media Has Todays Teens
Weight watchers, Bud Light, Neutrogena, Kohl’s, McDonalds, Victoria’s Secret, every time you turn on the T.V. these are just a few of the advertisements you may see, it not many more. Maybe you don’t have a T.V., that doesn’t mean you miss out on the advertisements that all your friends get to see. Everywhere you look they may be there. There are still billboards and magazines. When you see them you may think nothing of it, they are just a part of your every day life. But that right there is the problem, as teens, we see these images every day. They are eventually burned into our minds, what the ideal image is, what you should wear, how you should act, and how you should look.
As most of us already know diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are all on the rise in our country. What many of us don’t know is that eating disorders and dieting are also on the rise especially in young kids and teens, and the media may be to blame for all of these problems. Lets say you see a commercial for, dairy queen, which in turn makes you start craving ice cream, and you decide that you might as well drive that ten minute drive over to dairy queen and splurge a little. When you arrive back home you sit your butt back down on the couch and turn on the T.V. Of course there’s another commercial on but this time it’s advertising weight watchers, or Victoria’s Secret models, and you start to feel pretty bad about that giant sundae that your eating and your go throw it out, when in truth neither of those commercials should have influenced you to do anything.
In 50% of commercials aimed toward girls they spoke about physical attractiveness, while very few if any aimed at boys did. Although, 50% of the commercials aimed at boys showed them acting aggressively. Most girls who viewed these commercials emphasizing thinness or attractiveness became less confident, more angry, and more dissatisfied with their weight, or bodies. When shown slides of thin models people had lower self evaluations than people who were shown slides of average, or overweight models.
Not always, but usually woman and girls are more absorbed in how they look, while boys and men are more absorbed in how they act. The media preys on both of these weaknesses. 90% of teens with eating disorders are girl’s. Also the majority of people with depression are female and this could be very much affected by the fact that the standard ideal “look” for woman is set higher than for men. Five million Americans deal with an eating disorder!, and this number is on the rise, and at least 20% of teens will suffer from depression before they reach adulthood.
If you’re thinking that this isn’t such a serious problem just look at the affects that anorexia, bulimia, and depression have on people : Anorexia causes exhaustion, loss of appetite, growth of fine downy hair all over your body, yellowing dry skin and fingernails, dry brittle hair, electrolyte imbalance, amenorrhea, shrinking of the internal organs, infertility, heart problems, and dementia. Bulimia causes tooth and gum damage, esophageal and digestive tract problems, distended abdomen, and callused fingers. Depression contributes to chronic fatigue (persisting for a long time or constantly recurring), physical pains with no apparent sources, and larger risks of somatic illnesses.
In America today eating disorders are so common that 1 to 2 students out of every 100 will struggle with one. America also has an extremely warped opinion of the right weight. In fact, todays models generally weigh 23% less than the average woman!, and the average American sees around 3,000 ads in magazines, on billboards, and on T.V. every day. It’s no wonder that woman have such low self evaluations and that they struggle with self image so much. Phthalate, an ingredient in some beauty products can actually cause smaller genital areas in male babies if their mother had high levels of phthalate in her blood. The FDA doesn’t have the authority to test products before they go on the shelves. Each year Revlon has a walk for breast cancer, yet there may be ingredients in their products that cause cancer.
Most young girls are more afraid of getting fat than of getting cancer or losing a parent. Many times when people die form an electrolyte imbalance, a death from bulimia, it will not be listed on the death certificate. Teen girls seem to think that “shinny and beautiful” will give them everlasting happiness. In Europe many beauty products that cause cancer or birth defects are banned, while in the U.S. they are still widely used. The U.S. has only banned 6 ingredients used in cosmetics while Europe has banned 450.
Models are seen by the industries as products, not real people. These days in America girls as young as 5 years old are dieting or not eating! On billboards there have been labels saying “cute anorexic chicks”. One woman was fired from her job because she would not wear make up, after she had worked there for a very long time and had always been a good and reliable employee. There are many deaths from plastic surgery each year, yet despite the many risks and high prices more and more Americans continue to get it.
Many of the commercials advertising drinking or smoking make it look like fun, they make it look like you will be cool if you hang out with your friends and smoke cigarettes and drink a beer when in all actuality it has quite the opposite affect. When you’re drunk you may end up doing things that you will regret later or pay for then. For example drinking and driving, we’ve all heard the results of that. You may pay for that one mistake with your life, or someone else’s. You also might say or do other things that you can never take back and you may regret the rest of your life, and that can affect the rest of your life. Drinking under age also stunts the growth of our brains.
Cigarette advertisements are often times aimed toward younger age groups, although it’s illegal for people under 18 to smoke. Do you really think that having a cartoon camel is supposed to convince adults to buy a brand of cigarettes? Smoking can cause so many illnesses that could alter your life forever such as cancer, lung disease, and heart disease. It also makes you look the opposite of pretty and cool. You get gross black teeth and yellow skin and on top of that you smell bad, and the scent lingers.
You may be wondering why most of this is aimed at teens and the younger generations, but not the adults. Teens are at their most rapid, and sadly, awkward stage of growth that the human body goes through (besides infancy) and most of us are feeling very venerable and we are easily convinced to do stupid things, while adults are less likely to be affected by these things.
I know that every one has heard it before, but it’s true that what’s on the inside really matters more than what you look like, and you shouldn’t have to change the way you are for other people. If they are really your friends then they aren’t going to try to get you to do things that will harm you or your body and they will like you just the way you are. We only get one life, and one body, so we need to live without caring so much about what everyone thinks that we change ourselves, and we need to take care of ourselves if we want to be able to live and be able to do all the things we want to in our lives.