Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Media Pressures

Hello there, buddies!

NOTE: this is a slightly different tone to my usual posts, please bear that in mind.

If you have been reading my UBC you can probably see a link between this post and my Day 3 post about complimenting. Media pressure is a big issue in today's society, I think. Media is becoming an ever increasing part of our day-to-day lives, and 90% of people are in touch with some kind of media each day.

Now this rant is coming from me and my opinions, just as a little disclaimer. As a girl, I will put my hands up and admit that I do get affected by the media. There are certain areas a girl is sensitive to, such as body image, and the media very skillfully plays on this vulnerability to create nothing less than a shit storm.

The first sort of pressure I want to talk about revolves around fashion. This is coming from someone who really does not give two shits about fashion - as you can probably tell if you know me. There are so many fashion magazines, such as the likes of Vogue, which promote a certain type of fashion. Also, things such as catwalk shows (Fashion Week) showcase so many crazy types of fashion, yet so many young girls aspire to own these items. This I fail to understand.... Why anyone would want to wear 80% of a bird on their head I do not know. This obsession that young girls have developed with fashion still shocks me. When you go shopping, there is hardly any individuality in clothes anymore - they all look the same! Fashion trends are so weird these days too....bring back jelly shoes! I believe this is all down to the media portrayal of fashion being the "in thing". Young girls are influenced so much by what they read in magazines, that they see that they must have the clothes, and that they will be ridiculed if they don't. Are you kidding me? What happened to everyone looking different? What happened to the saying of the world would be boring if we were all the same? Are we all turning in to robotic duplicates of the things we see in magazines? 

Not only are there pressures on the necessity of material things, but also on having these perfect movie-style relationships. Every girl dreams of that big Hollywood kiss and the fairy tale wedding, but how often in reality does this happen? Movies and TV shows these days often portray this image of an "ideal" relationship, which is often completely unattainable. Now, I fully admit that I would love this perfect view of love, yet I am also realistic of this knowing full well that is will not happen. The pressure on a relationship being perfect is so strong these days. It may be part of the reason why the divorce rate is higher than what it has been in previous years - people are viewing their relationships as failures as they are basing them on what they have been shown in the media. In reality, are we all following an unhappy ending?

Now I move back over towards the fashion side of things; I want to talk about models. Have you ever seen a model without all her slap and amazingly perfect airbrushing which makes her skin look like porcelain? I shit you not, they look awful half the time. There are of course the lucky few who look good. Models in magazines and photo shoots are photoshopped within an inch of their lives - I am pretty sure you've seen loads of those before and after shots. Do you think the magazines ever stopped to think that them clicking their mouse to achieve "perfection" is all of a sudden stopping millions of teenage girls in their tracks? This airbrushing is putting so much pressure on girls and women to look like the models in these pictures, when in fact the models themselves don't even look like the pictures.....

This moves me nicely on to size zero. Now I could go on a very long rant about this quite easily. As a slightly chunkier girl, I do fall subject to this size zero ideal. However, I think this pressure can affect girls much younger than me. I have read stories where 7 year olds have dieted and thought that they look far too fat - when in fact they have a perfectly healthy BMI - simply due to this pressure put on them. This size zero thing really ruffles my feathers - a girl is usually self conscious about their body as it is without this added pressure. The media need to reevaluate their main concept of what makes a good looking women. In reality how many women are actually this size? The average size of a woman in the UK is a size 14, which I think looks stunning. Even more so when in comparison to this skeletal girl-like woman who is starting to look slightly like an alien. A real woman has curves, not bones. Just saying.

On a slightly more scientific note, there are constantly pressures on stereotypes. I am going to try and not delve too far in to this as I have planned a separate post. The main thing I am going to focus on right now is the gender stereotypes. There is so much pressure surrounding maintaining a gender stereotype; it is only seen as acceptable when a girl is really girly and wears pink, and when a boy is all rough and tumble and wears blue. Well here is a bombshell for you.....I don't like pink. What do you say to that, media? Media especially has pressure on the behaviour of a girl, or even of a boy, in certain social situations, and then they strive to act in this way, when really they want to do the opposite. Do you really think this makes them happy?

The worst thing about media pressures is the outcomes, and the horrible things that people, young girls especially, put themselves through just in order to conform to an idea set by a middle-aged person who has no interest but promoting their name. The saddest outcome is when young girls, some as young as 10, develop eating disorders in their attempt to conform to size zero and to the airbrushed models they see. This is a clinical disorder that young children are developing simply because of the pressure put on them. This is so unfair! The child is damaging their body permanently, which could be seriously bad for them in later life. People are also developing depression because they don't feel like they are "good enough" when in reality they are perfect as they are. This is something that I feel very upset about. As a girl who has suffered through things like this, I can sympathise at how awful they can feel on a daily basis, but this could all be avoided if the media didn't apply such forceful pressure.

There is also the issue of bullying. As the internet is become an increasingly popular form of media, forms such as social media are becoming a large part of people'd daily lives, and cyber bullying is ever increasing. Facebook apps such as have played a large part in fueling this seemingly popular trend in cyber bullying - something that is not acceptable! The internet is acting as a mask for people to hide behind, in order to chuck abuse at another person. I have seen many people being asked questions on like "why are you so fat?", or saying cruel jibes about their race, or asking why they do something. I think that this is all fueled by the pressure created by the media. If this issue is not addressed soon I can see it getting extremely out of hand.

Despite this being a very long rant so far (yes, there is more), I think there are some opportunities where media pressure can be seen as positive. I think the main example of this is with sports stars - however, this isn't exactly "pressure" in the same way. Since the London 2012 Olympics, there has been an increase of the focus on sports in schools and as extra-curricular activities. Now, whether you agree with me or not, as this has been focused on in the media, many people are now embracing these new opportunities, and keeping fit and possibly creating new sports stars! I find that some social media can also be positive, such as the likes of YouTube. Now, I am a keen YouTube fan (I spent a lot of time on it.....) and it is full of popular YouTubers of all different backgrounds - which you can now see with the help of "Draw My Life" videos. These are just normal people who haven't been airbrushed within an inch of their lives, and they are very easy to relate to. They address personal issues and almost become like friends to their viewers, and they basically offer support! This is a very positive outcome of social media, I think.

Finally, I want to talk about what I suggest to you guys regarding media pressures. I know that everyone is affected by media pressure, heck even I am, but I am hoping you will take my advice here. No matter what you read in the media, or what someone tells you, you are your own person. Don't be dictated to about what you should look like, what you should wear, or what you need to behave like, because if you listen to them I guarantee that you will not be happy. Take it from someone who has been there, done it and worn the t-shirt - being someone you are not is hell. Also, be strong and fight your corner - people will respect you more if you stand up for what you believe in. I know this is easier said than done, but try not to be affected by the shit you see in the media, because most the time it is just all a facade and a load of bullshit. Take the likes of TV and certain things you see on the internet with a pinch of salt. Most the time they are written by one person who is just trying to make some money, so they probably won't even apply to you. Last but not least: smile through all the shit, because one day you will look back on it and thank it for making you a stronger and better person. The people who bow and conform to everything they see will get haunted for it later along the line; they may not see it, but one day it will bite them on the ass.

That is all for now - this has to be the longest post ever.....
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