Media Pressures – From a Girls Perspective
The media is everywhere we look; magazines, TV the internet. It affects us all and we can’t escape it.
From a young age we are introduced to the influences of the media. As soon as we’re out of the womb that’s it, we’re expected to conform to it. Stereotypical toys and clothes: girls wear pink and play with dolls; boys wear blue and play with cars. And from there it gets worse. We’re introduced to TV and the characters that come with it, giving us our first role models, besides our parents. I can remember always wanting to be Fizz from the Tweenie’s because she was the ‘prettiest’. Jeez Ella, she’s bright yellow and nowhere near real!
But who knew that kind of socialisation silliness could lead to self-loathing and low self-esteem. As we grow we become media junkies, addicted to which celebrity has what and how can we get it. The worst of it is we don’t even know we’re doing it. We’re exposed to so many kinds of media outlets on a daily basis without even knowing it.
One effect of media over-exposure is self-loathing and low self-esteem. This mainly effects young women and as a 17 year old girl living in this world I can, not proudly, say that I don’t know a single girl that’s never looked in a mirror and felt 100% happy with their reflection.
“Ugh my hips look huge”
“My thighs are too big;
I should have a thigh gap”
“I wish my spots would just piss off!”
The fashion and beauty industries are the main culprits, yes, you’ve been caught red-handed! Their models create unrealistic goals on how we should look. Take a look at this video and tell me how we’re supposed to conform to this ideal vision of ‘beauty’ when their models don’t. How are we supposed to look like a picture when that picture is so far removed from the original?
They’re not the only culprits; other factors can be a lot closer to home. Our friends or people we know can also contribute to low self-esteem. The media also includes social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as the usual magazines and TV. So seeing edited pictures of others looking perfect and having a good time can often makes you feel worse about yourself; wishing you had the clothes they had or looked the way they do.
We think this behaviour is harmless but it’s not. The most accurate statistics from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence show that 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder and those statistics only count for confessed sufferers. So in reality that figure could be doubled or even tripled after counting those suffering in silence. The pressures pushed upon us are more dangerous than we realise. It’s hard to be happy with ourselves as individuals when the role models we have to look up to are so ‘perfect’. Hopefully one day young adults will be reassured by the media that the way they look is normal and that the models and air brushed photos are the weird ones. Well, we can only hope.