I recently finished an essay for school where I discussed a form of media, what it is made for, what is its target audience, etc. But once I started writing it, I decided to go on a different route. Instead of simply talking about a form of media and the message it’s trying to spread to others, I discussed the negative effects it unknowingly bestows onto us humans.
Now, this isn’t something that I chose to rant about, to be negative and pessimistic, because that isn’t me. I chose to do this to shed some light on what, I believe, most media–particularly magazines–are spreading onto others. This was a very passionate topic for me to discuss, being that I have seen many people–including myself–struggle with a multitude of insecurities, which usually stemmed from the media.
I wasn’t planning on posting any essays or discussions on my blog before, but I want to share my thoughts on the media. I want to tell you that, not all, but some media can be toxic. I want to prove to each and every one of you that are so beautiful and smart, so talented and brave.
So, here is my essay on the effects of media:
In our modern-day world, we have many forms of media. There are millions upon millions of movies, television shows, websites, magazines, and newspapers. No matter your career or hobbies, there is some kind of media that will cover your interests. But like everything else, media has its pros and cons. I’d like to think I’m quite familiar with various forms of media and the content they provide. I’ve read hundreds of articles and watched many shows and films. Over the recent years, I have been exposing myself to even more media, which has allowed me to obtain several opinions on these shows and magazines we often engross ourselves in.
There is one form of media that I particularly find the most toxic, and that is magazines. Now I’ve stumbled upon some wonderful magazines and articles about self-love and independence and acceptance and other positive topics. Although, to me, most of the content is negative, especially within teen magazines. I’ve come across many articles that gossip about celebrities—a word I don’t like to use, simply because performers are people, too—stamp certain imagery for how we should look, and focus on silly materialistic things that aren’t crucial in life.
During the teen years, people tend to be easily influenced. I believe this is due to the confusion and fear before going into adulthood, the uncertainty of what we want to do and where we want to be. I view these years as the time to build our confidence and self-love before entering the world of adulthood, but I often see that most teens are insecure around this age. I strongly believe this stems from the form of media that’s put out onto the world, especially teen magazines.
When I was younger, I used to receive a few teen magazines. For the most part, these magazines were quite inspirational, and I believe they have even improved over the years. They delivered some positive content on a variety of topics and issues. However, within in these magazines and others, there were articles of gossip and a similar array of models.
Not only do I think “celebrity gossip” is unnecessary, but I don’t think it’s fair to the culprits and the readers. Actors, actresses, and singers are made to be looked upon like gods, these perfect and beautiful beings, but they’re just people. They are talented people with a creative mind, performers of our world. I highly respect these kinds of people, but by focusing solely on this form of talent, the media is segregating us as humans. Most people, especially teens, think of themselves as a lesser being, or that they have to be like these people in order for happiness. And that’s all wrong. We all hold a place of importance in this world, whether the camera sees us or not. So instead of the media always focusing on “celebrities”, they should speak with aspiring talents or bring attention onto the hard workers who don’t receive the recognition they deserve.
Another issue I have with magazines, particularly teen magazines, is the lack of diversity in models. Most of the models posing in these gorgeous clothing tend to be tall and thin. When I was younger and would look upon these models, I would feel insecure, because there normally wasn’t an average-sized girl. This made me feel like I had to be taller and slimmer in order to be beautiful like these women on the paper. Models, like us people, should come in all shapes and sizes—curvy, short, tall, thin, athletic, etc. By presenting these women as these specific figures, it implants the idea that we must be slim to be acknowledged as beautiful. I have also seen this affect women as a community, that we’re not as pretty because of the extra skin on our bones.
I have experienced all of these emotions myself, but I’ve also overheard teens discussing these topics. I’ve seen girls with their cheekbones protruding saying that they weren’t thin enough, or boys frowning at their lack of muscle. Teenagers—and people in general—need to be taught that health and happiness are most important, not the appearance of someone in a magazine. Some of us are naturally slim, while others are naturally curvy, and that’s wonderful; that’s beautiful.
We are all humans, and we need to do what makes us happy. We should admire people, not compare ourselves to them. We should be able to call ourselves beautiful without makeup; handsome without muscles. We need to learn how to love ourselves for who we are.
So let’s keep the media positive and real, inspirational and raw. Let’s teach people how to love themselves, how to be happy and healthy. Because happiness is the most beautiful and important thing in life.
I know this is quite different from what I normally post, but I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave any of your thoughts, comments, or questions down below!