Selling an unrealistic lifestyle: The media and It’s influence on self-image.

body image

Not all of us are blessed with perfect hair, teeth or a million dollar handbag hosting the worlds tiniest canine, but these are the things we are led to believe we need hundreds of times a day, in hundreds of different forms of media.

The point of this kind of advertisement is to feed of off the insecurities of everyone, even the most confident of people will notice something they don’t have and convince themselves they need it, because they’re told they do. Consumerism is using radio, television, print, visual advertisements and filters of reality to exploit, profit and grow from a lack of self-esteem.

Out of all of the ways that media can shape and change our lives, promoting a negative body image is the most influential, it was identified as one of the three top concerns identified by young people in Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2015, with concerns higher among females than males.

Not only do these advertisements sell a false idea of beauty and acceptance through clothing or cosmetics, they also push the idea that to be perfect is to be thin, and these messages have increased eating disorders by 400% since 1970.

The obsession the world has with presenting themselves as a filtered version of their true self all stems from the media and it’s influence on the way we see the world. To fit in we believe we have to be an edited version of who we really are, so as to be accepted, feel important and worth loving. These ideals are conditioned into our brains the very moment we are born, and children who aren’t even aware of what the word ‘self-esteem’ means are being affected by this cult-like belief system.

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Children as young as eight are affected by eating disorders due to these unrealistic expectations, and the statistics are only growing.

The media can be used for many wonderful things, a world of positivity and connectivity and the ability to promote change; It’s about time we started doing it.

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