YOUNG VOICES: Is the media killing our confidence?

From the time we are born, even before understanding what we are seeing, we are hit with a barrage of unrealistic and unattainable images. This is what is bred into our psyche in the media world we live in today.

The question is; how can a person’s confidence not be killed in this generation? Everywhere you look, TV, movies, magazines, clothing adds, billboards, and even video games, are all littered with images of (mostly) women, who probably only 1 percent of us will ever look like in our lives. That leaves the other 99 percent of us feeling anything but perfect. Then, once you consider that the images we’re looking at, of these perfect people, are photo shopped and retouched so they’re even more perfect, it makes you realize that even the super models aren’t good enough. The media is constantly retouching and photo shopping to create the image of what they see as perfect, hoping that everyone else buys into it, which we do. The more and more we buy into it, the worse we feel about ourselves.

Considering the media is practically unavoidable these days, this is a social conflict teens and women will probably have to deal with for the rest of their lives. But who says “skin and bones” is perfect? Of course the fashion designers and magazine publishers want us to think that so we keep purchasing their products and they keep making money. But what if we stopped buying into all this nonsense? We all know that these images are unrealistic, so why do we even bother feeling bad about it? I think it’s time that we stopped feeling bad about ourselves and started feeling confident instead. I mean, ask any man; confidence is way more attractive than a ribcage sticking out of your sides. If we stop idolizing these photo shopped women and started idolizing ourselves instead, maybe society would finally see that “being perfect” isn’t about the way you look on the outside, but the way you feel and act on the inside.

Madi Wofford, a junior at Hood River Valley High School, wrote this essay as part of Judy Miller’s Wellness class. It was among a select number of projects Miller posts in the hallway outside her classroom.“Madi was working off of discussions we had about how our culture socializes us into gender roles and expectations. We also talked a lot about the increasing influence of both mainstream and social media in that socialization process,” notes Miller, who also teaches Global Studies and Psychology.

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