Well, there was just too much goodness in those final papers to leave it at just one The Kids are Alright post this semester. We needed another one. So here is part 2 of The Kids are Alright, Spring 2012. Be inspired.
The first concept that really gripped me and spoke to me about media influence was the objectification theory: the notion that mass media and society can transform someone’s perspective of their body as a part of themselves to an actual object- an object that needs to be fixed, to be decorated, to be perfected.
This entire idea resonated so deeply within me that I couldn’t stop thinking about all the ways we, as a society, are told that our bodies are not good enough and that we need to keep doing “work” on our bodies. Work, such as dieting to become skinnier, tanning to make our skin darker, using lightening lotions to make our skin lighter, having surgery to suck away this and tuck away that, getting injections to puff up and fill out our lips, eyes, and foreheads; work: to fight aging, to fight shape, to fight color, to fight uniqueness.
“Keep whittling on your body and/or face until it looks like the models and the faces in Cosmo,” that’s what they tell us. The body is an object to be crafted and constructed; it is not to develop on its own according to the biology and genetic makeup it is composed of. That’s what the media wants us to believe. Why? So we will buy their products and buy their altering services. ~ Candice
Beauty is relative and typically attributed to the unattainable… Coming to the realization that not everyone can be included in this framework [of standard beauty ideals] emphasizes the importance of individuals being their own advocates and not allowing others to dictate what they should look like. I find it comforting to know that if I put my mind to it I can decide at any moment that I am already beautiful in my own right and that leaves me free to do the things that I am meant to do in this world. ~ Ucha
What I’ve learned is how much we as humans compare. We compare everything. We compare our possessions to other’s possessions, our achievements to other’s achievements, and even our body to other’s bodies, as if there is some universal standard that we are all striving to achieve. But the real message is that there is no universal standard. We were each created so unique that no one could ever look or be completely like someone else. Therefore, we waste so much time comparing and contrasting our lives and looks to those we see in the media because we can never attain the qualities of someone else. That’s what makes them who they are and ours is what makes us who we are. ~ Kaitlyn
I am not defined by what others think of me. I am defined by the thoughts, feelings and attitudes set by me and nobody is good enough to try to convince me otherwise. After all, who am I to judge someone else? I have become more accepting of my insecurities and less judgmental of other people. ~Cheryl