Stereotypes & Body Image By The Media & How They Effect Today's Youth

You’ve seen the shows, nearly everyone has. You know, the one’s with “dumb blonde“, “pant- sagging gangster” or the “goth girl“? TV personnel and other forms of media have always used stereotyping and body image in their publicized works, easy tools in their fairly capable hands. Stereotyping, by Merriam-Webster’s definition is “to develop a mental stereotype about”. In my own words, it is to pre-judge someone or a group of people before meeting or interacting with them. Stereotypes also create and endorse the idea that if you don’t look and act a certain way your going to be an outcast or you’ll just be tossed to the side, and never paid attention to. Making it sensible that stereotypes and body image go fit together like pieces in a puzzle. Stereotypes are often added to television shows and movies to add drama or comedy. But, contrary wise, they actually add a sour taste in your mouth after watching every “nerd” or “girly gay guy” get pushed around and picked on, sometimes even physically punished, all for the sake of drama or even distorted comedy. Then, the “skinny, make-up covered beauty” and the “strong, popular jock” walk away hand in hand, victorious. It’s things like these that are sending the wrong messages to our vulnerable youth. Stereotyping is judgmental, hurtful and creates an all-around toxic environment for any youth.

Shows and movies that use stereotypes are often watched by our children. Kids watch all this stuff on TV about how you need to be pretty or strong to fit in. Before even the age of eight little girls want to wear make-up and diet so they don’t get “fat”. Not only is this sickening but it’s influencing children to refuse to eat, stunting their growth and making it so that their bodies are malnourished and unhealthy. Also, something commonly found in young boys is the need to be violent to prove their “worth it” or that they’re “the best”. These shows are telling our children that it’s wrong to be themselves and develop their own interests. It’s telling kids to try and be like everyone else, instead of being themselves. The media is confusing children before they are old enough to even think for themselves, let alone make such important life decisions. It is corrupting their growth as individuals and will effect them the rest of their life.

Teenagers can also often be caught in the sticky web of the media. Teens are constantly shown images of how they should look or how to act if they want to “fit it”. They even go so far as to group themselves in to small “cliques” by outside appearance. Now, I won’t deny that I, myself, don’t have a “clique” but I’m not sure if you could call it that. We don’t reject anyone from hanging out with us, and none of us dress all that similar or look the same. We simply found that we have the same interests. But other groups exclude people based on body weight or fashion tastes, all because the media says that if they don’t, they can’t possibly be worth anything or have any importance. I believe that people should be friends because of what they like to do, or what music they like, not what they look like. The media has got to realize that showing stereotypes and glorifying certain body images are effecting the social growth of today’s teens.

The media is and has been greatly effecting our youth, teaching them that it is better to be narcissistic and sycophantic then to simply be themselves and like what they want to. As a youth, we are constantly bombarded with body images and stereotypes that we “should” be or follow. I think we should stand above that and think for ourselves. We need to think about what we are really being shown through our television screens and in our magazines. We need to learn to sift out the truth from the lies and stop trying to be something we’re not. We need to stop confining ourselves to certain people and lifestyles and open ourselves up to the world and take in everything that we can. We need to ignore the media and remember that being ourselves is better than conforming to what the media wants us to be.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Hijabi18 said...
May 13, 2015 at 12:01 pm
I love this soo much, you have plenty talent!
 
rooly said...
Dec. 6, 2013 at 10:34 am
you are absolutely right this should stop we should make a revolution of teenagers just like syria and egypt and the usa will back us up.
 
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