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The Media Lies – A persuasive article about Body Image in the Media Essay

Trying to look perfect? Slapping makeup all over your face won’t help. It will just lead to oily skin and spots. Having plastic surgery won’t help. It will just cost a lot and may cause you serious or permanent damage. Why spend hundreds, maybe thousands of pounds a year trying to make yourself look “perfect”? Why cover up who you really are so that other people think you look good? Why should you spend all your time worrying about what other people will think of you? The answer is you shouldn’t.

Women’s magazines and television programmes are filled with weight-loss advertisements. According to the Women’s Center of Media and Body Image the average American person is subject to about 3,000 of these adverts on a daily basis. This ongoing exposure to these images has proven to change and alter our perceptions of reality and how we see things.

These images of perfection are not what normal women look like without major help and surgery. It’s difficult for young girls to understand that the people they see in magazines don’t actually look like that in real life. So they continue to search for these unrealistic and false images of what the media believes a “perfect” woman should look like. Many of the images you can find on television and in magazine adverts have been proved to be unattainable and unreachable goals we mentally set ourselves.

The majority of models and actresses that we see on a daily basis are reported to be at least twenty pounds underweight. Twenty years ago, models weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, they weigh 23% less than the average woman. Although the average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds, the average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds. Photograph editors have the ability to elongate your neck and legs, darken your eyebrows, and narrow your face. The finished, yet altered product is then plastered on billboards, on signs and in magazines everywhere for all to see.

Last year my friend became severely depressed. She told me that she didn’t feel like she fitted in anymore, people bullied her because she was pale and because she’d put on some weight over the holidays. She told me that didn’t feel good enough anymore. Why should anyone be made to feel like this? All
because of how pale their skin is or how much they weigh. Why should you have to live your life not doing things you enjoy because you’re worried about what other people will think of you?

The constant bombardment of images of “perfect” makes us think about our faults and flaws, but we would not be ourselves without those things. We were all born with imperfections and “faults” but we were all born with them for a reason. No one is the same; even identical twins have some slight differences, so why should we spend our time trying to look like someone in a magazine?

If we were meant to look like that then we would have been born like that. If we were all born “perfect” we would all look the same. We are all individuals therefore we should embrace our individuality. Innovation and fresh ideas do not come from following the crowd but from daring to be different. People could spend their whole lives trying to change themselves so that they are “perfect” but do we truly know what perfect is? Who decides whether something is perfect or not?

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought “I wish I was skinnier”? Or “I wish my hair was a different colour”? Or “I wish my legs were longer”? Everywhere we go the media still manages to get to us, even in our own homes it swoops in and attacks us with negative perceptions of ourselves. Even if you swear not to be invaded by the media’s ever seeing eyes, you can still be influenced by it. Imagine you’re walking down the street. Do you notice how strange that girl’s hair is, how skinny that boy is, or how fat that woman is?

The thing is people are extremely judgmental. Without even realizing it, just walking down a road we could have judged about 20 people. And because you’ve just judged that person, what’s to say they haven’t just judged you too? Over the generations we have become more self conscious of how we look, what we eat and even who we are friends with. A study found that 53% of thirteen-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies. This number grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.

Teenage girls face the biggest pressure to look good nowadays. It’s been proven that one out of every four college aged girls has an eating disorder and one-third of all girls has a distorted idea about their weight. When teens look in the mirror they see someone completely different looking back at them; they see someone that they don’t like, someone who’s not really them. Later in life some girls still don’t feel good enough so they then result to plastic or cosmetic surgery. In 2007, there were about 11.7 million cosmetic procedures performed in America. 91% percent of these were performed on women.

We should be happy with who we are, and we shouldn’t let the media manipulate us into changing the way we look just to please others. You might not be able to stop the media getting to you completely but you should at least be able to look in the mirror and like what you see for once. You shouldn’t be afraid to think that you look alright, it doesn’t mean you’re vain; It just means you’re happy with who you are. Don’t let other people tell you that you look weird or ugly, why should it matter what they think? It’s how you see yourself that matters.


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