Tag Archives: media

Beauty, Bullying, and a Battle

28 Apr

I just finished watching my peers’ Ted Talks and there were three that stuck out because of the importance of the topic: Bullying, Teenage Depression and Suicide, and The Perception of Beauty. These are all social issues which I’m constantly thinking about. Our societal perception of beauty and other issues has been so skewed over the last few decades. It’s interesting and beneficial to take a step back and ask yourself, How can I make a change? What have I done lately to improve my life or someone elses?

Beauty:

I continuously post about our society’s flawed perception of beauty. As an avid fashionista, this is something I struggle with. If I have trouble finding NORMAL style icons and I’m actually aware of our skewed perception, imagine how a susceptible a 13 year old girl feels. They don’t know the difference, and what they see in magazines is what they think beauty is. THIS IS SO FALSE. If 96% of women think they aren’t beautiful…something is seriously wrong. I joined the 4% about a year and a half ago when I ended a six year battle with myself. I’ll post a quote below, but I decided that I wouldn’t be subject to the ignorance of others and I would no longer have my life narrowed down to the pages of a magazine. Clothing slowly became a celebration of beauty, not a battle against it. This is the bottom line: our skewed perceptions leads to a fake image of perfection and then we bully those who are “different,” ultimately leading to depression which no one will address because “we don’t talk about it” …do you see the dilemma and the vicious cycle? I sure do.

The issues Marissa addressed were perfectly on-point. Our social media should not be a place where we allow ourselves to be consumed with the images of skinny girls and buff guys. Don’t we get enough of that everywhere else?

So, will you join the 4%?

The four percent of women, worldwide, who will consider themselves beautiful and worthy of everything life can offer once you start living for yourself and not others….

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.” – Bell Hooks

Bullying:

The effects of something doesn’t stop once the words are said or the magazine is closed, the effects of both verbal and visual stay with us. Hence, why this topic is so pertinent because I feel as though today’s youth cannot function without putting others down to make themselves feel better. Last weekend I had the privilege and honor of meeting a young boy, Joseph, who is scared to enter middle school because he fears being a subject of bullying. I met Joseph after this talk and I couldn’t help but think of how valid the argument was. The obsession with stopping bullies has become impractical and a failure. Noah’s use of a personal story really made the talk impactful and left the viewer thinking about it after it was over. Finally, last Saturday, when my day came to an end, I told Joseph to stand tall and remember to be himself. That bullies won’t go away, but you don’t have to let them affect how you go through school. Now, this boy was marvelous and He loves science and math (makes sense since his Dad is a science research professor). It broke my heart to hear how scared he was…

Teen Depression:

As a university student, this topic is extremely relevant because we confront these issues almost daily. However, the social stigma attached with teen depression has left individuals feeling even more alone and unable or scared to find treatment. Silencing something which affects millions of teens and adults is not the way to handle any situation, let alone mental health. If young adults don’t receive help, they can become the victim of suicide. Suicide is a fully preventable death, but because society turns a “blind eye,” it has become the third leading cause of death among people ages 15-24. I liked the focus on the importance of our mental health because it IS just as important as our physical health. I think that teen depression is something that the public has covered up for too long and now it is time to talk about and deal with. A life could be saved.

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Mastering Mean Media

9 Feb

Okay, today’s post is going to be a little different. I’m going to give my version of a “PSA.”  The media, in a sense, runs our lives. We turn to it for guidance and answers on an array of issues. For the most part, I like to think that it is a valuable source of information.

However, everything that seems good typically has a downside or a “dark side.” For the teen generation today, that would be the media’s misconstrued view on beauty and the overexposure of drinking to young audiences. Now, I know how hurtful words can be; I experienced it first-hand and let them tear me down for most of my teenage years. What should have been the time of my life turned in to a nightmare that wouldn’t end. I let the words of my peers affect me. This issue of peer pressure on the premise of weight, body image, drinking and drugs needs to be addressed. Teens and college students feel the need to drink or diet excessively to gain a sense of belonging. Women (and men) are constantly trying to fit an unnatural mold. While we are by nature social beings, independence is a virtue which is under-utilized in society.

My point: The message that needs to be sent is that it’s okay to talk to someone when you’re feeling pressured. You aren’t alone.

Fashion should be a celebration of self-expression, but for some it has become an obsession of “perfection.” While this idea of perfection is absurd on multiple levels, it permeates our TV’s, internet streams, and fashion magazines. While I blame the media for skewing the image of beauty, I also hold peers accountable. I now see the absurdity that surrounds our culture and at times I understand the desire to conform. The underhanded comments and snide remarks from those who are important mean more to a susceptible young adult than the words in a fashion magazine. Not all situations are equal, but when positivity surrounds a person, they think of themselves in a positive light.

While the media may put some insane images out there positive role models can exist.

 

My girl Beyonce is a clear example of true feminine beauty and independence. Find your role model. Whether it is your mom or your best friend… Find someone who makes you a better person because “Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”

I’ll leave you with this thought: Just earlier this week, I was talking to my best friend about the impact of media on self-image. She said to me “People need to understand that all sizes are beautiful.” If you’re healthy, you’re beautiful and perfect. The words people shout are just words and like the childhood saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” you can’t allow someone to tear you down through bullying and peer pressure. Some people will never grow up. I’ve learned that even as a college student, girls are the worst offenders for hurtful words (most often said behind your back). So, like Christina Aguilera says “you are beautiful just the way you are, words can’t bring you down.”  The words that come out of someone else’s mouth will always come back. Karma’s a real bitch.