The Media: Poison to the Adolescent Mind

March 17, 2010
America is obsessed with beauty. Whether it’s visiting tanning salons every month, getting plastic surgery, or monitoring weight, people in the country want to look their idea of “good” or otherwise as close to perfect as possible. This is an issue affecting the youth, especially teenage girls.

Distorting the truth, the media puts out their image what they think the ideal woman looks and acts like through ads for products that young women are known to buy. Girls are sensitive when it comes to their body image. It’s always about how you look. In our society, being over weight is unacceptable as well as undesirable. With images of impossibly thin models plastered all around them, American girls become self-conscious about their appearance. The beauties they see on the cover of magazines and in movies become their role models, but they don’t have a positive influence. “I want to look like her,” is a phrase that is seems harmless enough, but poisons the teenage girl’s mind. She becomes absorbed in looking like what she thinks is acceptable, the Hollywood version of herself.

The media leads girls to dangerous disorders that can lead to hospitalization. Obsession with looking as skinny as models affects a large population of the country. Far from uncommon is Anorexia, starving oneself in order to lose weight. Deaths from starvation have been reported around the country, and even in the world. Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorders in the country. After eating, bingers force themselves to throw up their food to keep their “perfect figures.” This disorder mostly affects females, but a small population of males suffers from it also. These people are blind to the fact that they can’t be perfect because no one on this earth even comes close. Even the models and dancers themselves fall into these hazardous habits.

The media is designed to make people feel insecure so that they will feel obligated to buy products to improve their image and boost their self confidence. It’s all about making money, advertisements aren’t thought through in consideration to girls’ feelings. Tabloids even pick on celebrities obsessing over their appearance. This has become such a problem that companies have come up with campaigns to tell girls that beauty isn’t everything. Dove has come up with the Campaign for Real Beauty in an attempt to show that you don’t have to be a size 0 to be beautiful. Since 2004 they have had ordinary women instead of models advertising its products.

Even Young Adult fiction and Non-Fiction authors bring awareness to this growing trend by writing books that tell the story of someone frustrated with their looks. Sara Shepard, author of the Pretty Little Liars Series, gives a first-hand example of the media’s poison. A main character, Hana Marin, is a chubby and dorky sixth grader who hangs out with other girls she considers to be beautiful. Blonde, skinny, and tan is what she dreams to be, and she achieves this image, but in an unhealthy fashion: binging. Throughout the series, when Hana is under stress she sees herself as an old, unpleasant sixth grader and she eats and eats just to vomit it all seconds later. Often she compares herself to people she sees in magazines and on television showing her jealousy.

The influence the media has on young girls is a serious issue that is often overlooked. Girls die trying to be as stunning as a Victoria’s Secret Model, when they need to open their eyes and look at themselves in the mirror again. “Beauty is only skin deep.”

Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

AsherJ said...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm
Great job I love the way you sum up how much of a bad influence media is on America's youth!
AsherJ replied...
Apr. 18, 2010 at 9:17 pm
I found this article and thought it was a perfect example of how things are changing... alot
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